Oscar E Moore

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OLD TIMES – Pinter, pregnant pauses and puffs of smoke

October 10th, 2015 by Oscar E Moore

A spacecraft named OLD TIMES has landed at the American Airlines Theatre helmed by Douglas Hodge and carrying as its messengers Clive Owen, Eve Best and Kelly Reilly.  Penned by Harold Pinter.  And it is over before you know what happens.

Running a mere 65 minutes it is never boring.  As you try to figure the enigma that you are witnessing as strobe lights flash in your eyes and a turntable revolves ever so slowly.

Other worldly music (Thom Yorke) greets the audience as we enter – or should I say annoys the eardrums of the audience as the curtain goes up on this Twilight Zone inspired Roundabout production.  Cavernous set by Christine Jones.  It’s the first Broadway production of this play first confounding audiences in 1971.

Your guess as to what it means is as good as mine.  Is it a riff on Noel Coward’s Private Lives?    Is it a dream?  Is it a group therapy session?  Is it the real turtle soup or merely the mock?

There is an armchair on which sits Deeley a handsome specimen of manhood Clive Owen, torn between two attractive and troubled women:  His wife Kate (Kelly Reilly) and her only friend that she has not seen in twenty years – Anna (Eve Best) perched atop two matching purple divans (thus the shrink reference).

They drink coffee and brandy.  They smoke.  They banter.  They pause.  They give one another telling glances while keeping from us what it is they are trying to communicate with each other.  They pose in stylized Zombie mode.  They pause.  Giving us pause for thought.  They seem bored.  They seem ready to have sex.  They are waiting for something to happen.  Lots of mention of death.  The word hot is oft heard.

Kate leaves to take a bath and chatterbox Anna chatters on.  Too bad her projection is not as clear as her companions on stage.

Then they sing snippets of “She’s Funny That Way”  “I Get a Kick Out of You” and “These Foolish Things.”

Enough said.

Limited engagement through November 29th.

Photos:  Joan Marcus

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