Other Places by Harold Pinter
Bath University Student Theatre
Museum of Bath at Work
9th June, 2017
Harold Pinter’s theatre is not something to be adapted lightly, so it’s an impressive feat that Bath University’s Student Theatre puts on three of his one act plays with maturity and aplomb in Other Places.
The first play, ‘A Kind of Alaska’, gives us a child waking from a thirty-year coma to find her body has aged without her. Janna Chapman plays this confidently as bewildered, chattering Deborah, with engaging support from Sarah Fletcher as Pauline, but doesn’t quite ease an unmistakable sense of dragging as the piece goes on. It seems, also, that more could be done visually to show Deborah’s thirty additional years.
Pacing picks up in the second play, ‘Victoria Station’, carried by Ed Barnes’ marvellous cab company controller. His working man command and perfect comic control gives a flourish to a fitting direction of Pinter’s esoteric, menace-laden world. The apt use of sparse staging and lighting, as well as Barnes’ professionalism, makes ‘Victoria Station’ the tightest of the three plays, despite being the shortest.
Closing Other Places was ‘One for the Road’, a thoroughly unnerving story in which husband, wife and child are held by a psychopathic, yet somehow charismatic Nic. Annayah Prosser raises the bar as the genderbent captor with a brilliant display of jarring levity, pin-drop silence inducing intimidation and a discomforting mix of the seductive and threatening. Though the first two plays leave other cast members sidelined as somewhat stiff extras, the abused captives played by Emma Robinson, Gemma Barnett and Owen Biggadike show their talent despite having only a small portion of the lines. Biggadike in particular is commendable as Victor, whose broken, haunted silence is the type of acting that can easily be underappreciated.
Other Places is a brilliant showcase of Pinter’s work, giving a selection perfect for fans of his ‘Comedy of Menace’ or those new to it, as well as exhibiting the impressive capabilities of Bath University’s Student Theatre.
**** – 4 Stars