The Guildhall School of Music and Drama presents an abstract trio of Pinter, taking scenes from Harold Pinter’s One for the Road, The New World Order and Mountain Language and bringing them cohesively together to create a well-balanced showcase for their final year actors.
Paul Gorostidi opens the evening’s dramatics with his portrayal of Nicholas in One for the Road and shows great strength and skill. His performance is powerful yet mysterious and it is an intriguingly balanced performance by an interesting and detailed actor. He plays opposite Sasha Alexis who has a powerful voice and striking features. Alexis plays Gila, wife of prisoner Victor, who is played by Pierre Elliott; both successfully convey their confusion and contempt at their character’s entrapment at an appropriately subtle level. These are characters with much to say yet they hold it in, choosing their words with highly executed precision and a delicate touch. All three actors aptly portray the inner struggle and deep complexity of these characters.
The New World Order features Josh Dylan as Des and Akpore Uzoh as Lionel. The dark humour of the scene comes through well. Dylan and Golab discuss the fate of a blindfolded detainee in loud voices and in clear and obvious earshot of a blindfolded man (Michael Golab) who is seated in between them. Dylan plays on the vulnerable side of his character and his choice works very well. While the pair naively discuss their brutal plan, they are still able to bring an organic and unexpected humour to the scene.
These two opening scenes are then followed by three extracts of the previous two, re-directed and re-cast in alternative ways; it is certainly something I have not seen done before. The following scenes then mix gender-blind and classic casting. These elements combine with unusual lighting and set choices, making the overall show striking and unusual. There is an eerie and curious sense of mystique created by the designer and director of the show.
The scenes throughout the evening display struggles for power in a twisted variety of dynamics. The showcase ends with Mountain Language, which brings the casts from all the individual scenes together. It is a short piece exploring how a people is captured and is unable to speak, due to the fact their mother tongue is prohibited.
I went with the expectation of seeing a high standard of acting, but I was also treated to a variety of unusual and intriguing Pinter presentations in a coherent and well-put together showcase.
One for the Road, The New World Order and Mountain Language is playing the Milton Court Studio Theatre until 9 February. For more information and tickets, see the Barbican website.