Booking from: Tuesday, 9 January 2018
Booking until: Saturday, 14 April 2018
One of Harold Pinter’s best-known and most often performed plays, The Birthday Party returns to its home city of London to celebrate 60 years playing all over the world. It will play at the Harold Pinter Theatre, renamed after the Nobel Prize-winning playwright’s death in 2008, for a limited, 14-week season from 9 January 2018. With an acclaimed director, a star-studded cast and one of the West End’s most successful producers, this show promises to be a true celebration of one of the greatest British playwrights of the twentieth century.
Stanley Webber live in a run-down boarding house in a sleepy English coastal town. Run by Petey and Meg Bowles, piano player Stanley celebrates a birthday one day when he is confronted by two ominous strangers, Goldberg and McCann. Suddenly, the party Meg has so carefully organised is turned upside down with nightmarish results.
For it fiftieth birthday at the Lyric Hammersmith, The Birthday Party featured Sheila Hancock in the role of Meg. Now it is the turn of Zoë Wanamaker to step into the role, back in London after appearing in Elegy in 2016 at the Donmar Warehouse and as part of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company season at the Garrick in 2015-16. Wanamaker has played in The Birthday Party before, taking to the stage in the 1972 version as naïve friend Lulu, performed in Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre.
The Tony Award-nominated actor is joined by Toby Jones, playing confused protagonist Stanley Webber, and Stephen Mangan as stranger with a secret Goldberg. Mangan last played hapless fop Bertie Wooster in the 2014 Jeeves and Wooster; Jones hasn’t been seen on stage here since his 2011 performance at the Arcola Theatre in The Painter. All three are Olivier Award-winners and with director Ian Rickson at the helm, this promises to be an unmissable start to 2018.
Pinter’s production has been performed extensively across both sides of the pond, with other shows travelling around the world. Rickson himself is no stranger to directing Pinter– his 2011 revival of Betrayal, starring Kristin Scott Thomas, is still revered as one of the great directing works in the last ten years and acts as a fitting tribute to Pinter’s memory. Rickson teams up with Sonia Friedman Productions for this latest revival, a comedy of menace that highlights the absurdity in being terrified of the everyday.
The Birthday Party promises to be a dark comedy of epic proportions. Playing from 9 January until 14 April 2018, be sure to book your tickets now so as not to miss out on three award-winning stage actors and one of the country’s most prolific playwrights, supported by a creative team of unbeatable experience.