The Homecoming (1985)
Directed by Tina Massey
The action takes place in North London.
- Max - Terry Neale
- Lenny - Paul Hutchinson
- Sam - John Lyne
- Joey - Geoff Munday
- Teddy - Brian Scoltock
- Ruth - Kate Nash
- Stage Manager - Beverly Dalton
- Assistant Stage Manager - Patricia Kane
- Lighting - Peter Boon
- Set Design - Victor Kelly
- Set Construction - Bernie Bullbrook
- Prompt - June McAuliffe
..... "The Homecoming" certainly features a clutch of unusually repellent characters, not to say wildly illogical ones. Max, a scruffy old widower and ex-butcher, has three sons; Lenny, a layabout and probable pimp; Joey, an uncouth boxer; and Teddy, a Doctor of Philosophy newly returned from America with his wife, Ruth. Max's brother Sam, a chauffeur, is by a long way the most sympathetic character..................
Tina Massey's production can hardly be said to fire on all cylinders. As the ambiguous Lenny, Paul Hutchinson does not quite get the measure of Pinter's elusive rhythms. His grotesque stories of the dockside girl and the old woman fail to convey either of the essential qualities of verbal humour or brooding menace.
Geoff Munday's Joey is nicely balanced between optimism and sullen ignorance, but created minimal interest in the character.
There is a pleasing measure of equivocation about Brian Scoltock's Teddy, picking his way prissily through a Pinteresque minefield. As Ruth, Kate Nash opts for a deadpan delivery suggesting that she keeps her thoughts where Pinter left them, deep within her skull.
The strongest piece of acting comes from Terry Neale as Max. He gives a performance of high voltage, teetering on a tightrope of danger; every word seems to mask some inner meaning.
There is poison even in the honey, and John Lyne plays the homely Sam as a worthy foil, his very decency a counterpoise.
Ambiguous to the last, Pinter brings about Sam's collapse with a stage direction that he "croaks". Opinion is divided as to whether he is actully dead or only unconscious. The master of enigma strikes again.
Donald Madgwick, reprinted in SCENE from The Croydon Advertiser, with permission.
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