Pinter One in Exactly 250 words
Updated on 7 April 2021
From September 2018 to February 2019, the Harold Pinter Theatre is presenting a season of Pinter's twenty short plays, marking the tenth anniversary of the playwright's death. The first of the season's seven instalments – Pinter One – features One for The Road, The New World Order, Mountain Language, Ashes to Ashes and The Pres and an Officer.
Pictured: a terrifying look at Paapa Essiedu and Kate O'Flynn in Pinter One.
Individually, the five performances are all impressive. Tension and discomfort build to intense levels, and the relevance of even the more abstract pieces makes this play suitably disturbing for contemporary audiences.
However, watching five grisly plays back-to-back is full-on and, for me, a bit much. The plays are so bleak that, by the end of the instalment, its heavily dystopian tone begins to feel relentless. Additionally, there's no time after each performance to think over its contents.
Of the individual plays, One for the Road is strongest. I really enjoyed the way that this piece allowed the audience to engage separately with various members of a family. The Pres and an Officer is the most overtly topical piece, and provides some much needed humour (albeit … dark humour). I enjoyed The New World Order and Mountain Language, but Ashes to Ashes felt dragged out.
This season is a great way to see Pinter's work in a new way. Whether five back-to-back Pinter plays is too many is just personal preference. If you do think that it's the kind of thing you'd enjoy, you can catch Pinter One until the 20th October 2018.
Pinter One is only playing through 20 October so book Pinter One tickets now. Don't forget to check out the rest of the Pinter at the Pinter Season as well.