Drama on 3, BBC Radio
This new production of Harold Pinter's 1965 play features Pinter in the role of the old man of the family, Max. This is quite a family of men. These are not at all nice people who we spend this hour and a half with. As a matter of fact these are awful people who engage in a sort of verbal slapstick in this dark comedy. One might not want to actually wander into such a house, yet their jabs at one another provides some fast paced entertainment. There is never a dull moment.
The exuberance with which Pinter's tackles the role makes one think that he has been waiting all these years to play Max. He is dreadfully marvelous. Well, they all are. This is a great production of a great demented and somewhat courageous play. This is the sort of thing that earned Pinter the Nobel. This is the artist taking things beyond the edges of reason.
The play presents more questions than it answers and this is a very good thing. One question is. "What the hell is up with Ruth, and why does she agree with this scheme?" It would be interesting to get the opinion of a woman who has heard the play. The people in the play are unkind to women, or at least they speak about some horrible criminal activity toward women. And yet Ruth is not frightened off. Is she a masochist?
In childhood it was a lot of fun to be spun around enough to upset the fluids in the inner ear to cause dizziness, be left stumbling, giggling, and bumping into the furniture in mock drunkenness yet with all senses lucid and alert. This is the effect of a play like this. It's disorienting.
Unfortunately the week portal of BBC WWW 'Listen Again" has expired on this one. so if you missed it, it's gone. Perhaps it will be replayed in the future or released on CD or purchasable download. It would be a good thing if they created a site where downloads of dramas could be bought. Perhaps they are working on such an idea.