February 28, 2007
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I may be on a hiding to nothing with this, but did anyone see the Pinter play Celebration on More4 on Monday? Thought not. Oh well. I’ve never actually seen anything by Harold Pinter, though I’ve heard him make some very rousing, anti-war, left-wing speeches. And because I’m a very cultured person I thought I’d watch it.
It was shit.
The play ran for 45 minutes but must have been very quick to write because it only had 15 minutes worth of dialogue, in that style where everything anyone says is repeated. Everything anyone says is repeated? Yes, everything anyone says is repeated. Everything anyone says. Is repeated. Before the programme started there was a clip of Michael Gambon saying what a dream Pinter was for actors, and now I realise it’s because they have to come with multiple ways of saying the same damn line.
Celebration is set in an expensive restaurant, with the conceit that the diners are uncouth cockney wankers and the wait staff are cultured and well-spoken. This doesn’t work quite so well when you’ve got Colin Firth and Penelope Wilton trying to do cockney accents and the odd syllable comes out as RADA. And there was that whole the-AT-er ending where one of the waiters had his own monologue that expounded on the meaning of his life until blackout, which I really hate when the whole of the rest of the play has been meaningless banter between random characters that you hate and there’s that desperate attempt to make the finish deep and thoughtful in the hope that’s what stays with you.