Kristin Scott Thomas shines in 'compelling' Old Times revival

Feb 6, 2013

Scott Thomas, Rufus Sewell and Lia Williams keep Pinter's mysterious ménage-a-trois bubbling

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What you need to know
A revival of Harold Pinter's 1971 play Old Times, directed by Ian Rickson, has opened at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End.

One of Pinter's most mysterious plays, Old Times tells the story of a married couple (Kate and Deeley) who are visited by the wife's former friend and flatmate Anna. The trio recall past events, but no one can agree on exactly what happened.

Kristin Scott Thomas and Lia Williams alternate the roles of Kate (the married woman) and Anna (her old friend). Rufus Sewell plays Deeley.

What the critics like
Ian Rickson's "brilliantly pellucid production" is fascinating, says Michael Billington in The Guardian. The alternate casting of Scott Thomas and Williams also "adds to the bottomless mystery of Pinter's play".

It's a "haunting yet robust" revival of Pinter's play, says Paul Taylor in The Independent. Scott Thomas's performances are both wonderfully unmannered. As Kate "she exudes remote beauty and Sphinx-like inscrutability", as Anna, she brings an "almost vulgar comic verve to a character".

Scott Thomas's phenomenal stage presence dominates, says Dominic Maxwell in The Times. But Williams is a fine actor and Sewell is always excellent. Rickson and his cast keep this one-of-a-kind ménage à trois compelling – "the air crackles with sexual tension".

What they don't like
This is "surely the most impenetrable of his plays", says Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail. "Pinter addicts may like it," adds Letts, but he found only "90 minutes of bafflement".

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