Must see: Old Times, Harold Pinter Theatre, London SW1

Role reversals galvanise a rich and robust Pinter revival

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Kristin Scott Thomas and Lia Williams continue the theatrical tradition of the role-swap in Ian Rickson's compelling revival of Harold Pinter's 1971 play.

Depending on when you go, each actor will portray either Kate, the wife of a film director (brilliantly played by Rufus Sewell), or Anna, a flatmate of Kate's from her London days, who visits the couple after a 20-year gap.

The piece is a three-hander in which the threatened husband and the newcomer engage in a fight to the death for possession of the mysteriously withdrawn Kate. What the swapping illustrates is how adjustments to the chemistry can intriguingly alter the play's dynamic. Williams is liable to lapse into mannered portentousness but Scott Thomas brings an almost vulgar comic verve to Anna's satirically knowing sexuality.

Old Times can seem self-conscious, but Rickson's haunting yet robust account offers positive reasons to be in two minds about it.

(0844 871 7622) to 6 April