THEATRE REVIEWS: The Birthday Party

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The Independent Culture
The Birthday Party

Piccadilly Theatre (0171-369 1734)

Joe Harmston's sprint through Pinter's potentially thrilling debut play (100 minutes, no interval) irons out the pauses. While it's nice to cut the overly-reverential crap, Harmston's fleet but flat approach also removes the tension and most of the terrifying subtext. Too many of his cast play everything at one remove so we too remain distanced and rarely engaged. Prunella Scales plays the comedy, but where's the threat, the danger, the chills?