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TV stars are a class act in Pinter play

PUBLISHED: 22:31 14 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:50 03 March 2010

The Caretaker by Harold Pinter

The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Until November 17



THE New Wolsey Theatre's dizzying rollercoaster of quality reached a high point again last night with the English Touring Theatre's production of The Caretaker.

The Caretaker by Harold Pinter

The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Until November 17

THE New Wolsey Theatre's dizzying rollercoaster of quality reached a high point again last night with the English Touring Theatre's production of The Caretaker.

Now more than 40 years old, and with many abysmal reincarnations behind it, Harold Pinter's classic tale of psychological turf-war among society's sub-strata is given a new lease of life by an experienced and talented cast.

Well-known theatre and TV face Malcolm Storry is Davies, a tramp given succour by the socially inept and creepy Aston (Julian Lewis-Jones), who lives in his brother's derelict house.

As the first act draws to a close, we meet brother Mick, all swagger and aggression, played by Coronation Street's recently bumped-off resident evildoer, Lee Boardman, whose trademark pirhana smile frequently flashes across the rotting corpse of a set without a hint of humour to soften it.

The Caretaker is a triumph for ETT - a far cry from last year's questionable

staging of Love's Labour's Lost.

Director Gari Jones keeps Pinter's often-turgid dialogue fairly trundling along, especially in the case of Davies, who is a minutely observed masterpiece by Malcolm Storry.

While not a short play at two and three-quarter hours, this latest production is surely by far one of the most riveting ever staged.

PAUL COUCH

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