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REVIEW ROUNDUP: Jonathan Pryce Opens in The Caretaker in London

By London
Jonathan Pryce in The Caretaker
(Photo courtesy of the company)
Jonathan Pryce in The Caretaker
(Photo courtesy of the company)
Two-time Tony Award winner Jonathan Pryce officially opened the West End transfer of the Liverpool Everyman's revival of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker at Trafalgar Studios on January 18. The production, directed by Christopher Morahan, coincides with the play's 50th anniversary and will continue through April 17.

The play is set in the late 1950s in a seedy west London flat where two grown brothers -- brain-damaged Aston (Peter McDonald) and menacing Mick (Sam Spruell) -- have their lives disrupted by a bad-tempered tramp named Davies, played by Pryce.

The critics have weighed in and generally praise both Morahan's production and Pryce's performance.

Among the reviews are:

Daily Telegraph
The Caretaker at the Trafalgar Studios
"...a gripping production by Christopher Morahan and a superb cast headed by Jonathan Pryce as the disgusting old tramp, Davies."

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"Pryce plays Davies as a sly wheedling Welshman, delivering great gobby arias of self-pity and self-justification with panache, his furtive eyes lighting up as he spies the main chance. You can almost smell him as he stalks the stage, but there are hilarious moments of fastidiousness, as he hides to avoid Aston's gaze as he undresses for bed."

The Guardian
The Caretaker | Theatre review
"[Pryce gives] a strong performance, stronger than the careful production that plays up the crowd-pleasing comedy of the drama (there's a wonderful pass-the-parcel routine with Davies's bag that could be straight out of a variety hall act), but sometimes seems short on atmosphere and isn't as disquieting as other revivals."

London Theatre Guide
The First Night Feature: The Caretaker
"[Pryce] may be playing an intensely irritating character - a wittering, twittering, ungracious, ungrateful, bombastic fickle fool - but he does it well, with a gurning, twitching panache and polish that ensures the irritation lives on longer than a persistent fungal infection. [...] The fact that I am still infuriated by the games Davies plays in an effort to survive speaks volumes for Pryce's performance."

The Independent
The Caretaker, Trafalgar Studios, London
"As Christopher Morahan's near-flawless production shows, there is gold to be mined from the detritus of these men's lives and their worn scraps of dialogue."

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"Davies can be and has been played as a monster from the depths or a voice in the wilderness, but Pryce's tramp is precisely, painfully real."

The Times
The Caretaker at Trafalgar Studios, SW1
"Christopher Morahan's production, always strong, turns one of even Pinter's most enigmatic and suggestive plays into the tale of three dreamers who are also seriously damaged men."

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"What Pryce gives us is a man who is wary to the point of paranoia -- his Davies is a Welshman with multiple names and accents to call on -- but so self-involved he can't see which brother is his friend and which isn't. He's also mean yet oddly jovial, ferociously aggressive yet, at the end, pitiable in his loneliness. Is there a more complete performance on offer in London? Can't think of one."

Whatsonstage.com
Review: The Caretaker
"Pryce's Davies is a clattering and compelling performance all of itself, the most brilliant and devastating, surely, of all Pinter's tramps down the years."

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"He is well framed in Christopher Morahan's production by two convincingly bovine, fair-headed brothers, the sinister, large-featured Mick of Sam Spruell effortlessly superior to the withdrawn, accommodating Aston of Peter McDonald."


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