I saw Rupert Goold’s production of No Man’s Land by Harold Pinter on Saturday night at The Duke of York theatre. Very good.
A cast of four. One room. Lots of whisky. The relationships all unclear and the atmosphere morphing from maudlin to menacing to jovial…..and back. Who is the ragged Spooner? What relationship have the two younger men to the older Hirst? What is the relationship between the two younger men, the supposed “vagabond cock”? What is in the photo album? Did Spooner school with Hirst? Is Spooner a bit of rough trade from Hampstead Heath or a potman at the local Bull’s Head? Or perhaps a long lost acquaintance?
Michael Gambon plays Hirst, a literary figure in his later years; Paralytic at night but fresh in the morning. David Bradley’s Spooner is Hirst’s contemporary. An outsider, desperately feeling for a foothold. Briggs, played by Nick Dunning, is ambiguous but intimidating when teamed with David Walliams’ Foster but, while Walliams performance carries weight, his TV fame spills over and one can never entireyly dismiss a subliminal flash of Little Britian’s Lou & Andy as Foster stands talking down to the inebriated and seated Hirst.
Spooner: “….in no man’s land. Which never moves, which never
changes, which never grows older, but which remains
forever icy and silent.”
Hirst: “I’ll drink to that.”