Sheffield has two great theatres - the beautifully refurbished late nineteenth century Lyceum and the nineteen sixties blocked monument to concrete modernity and functionalism - The Crucible. It was to the latter theatre that my daughter and I ventured this afternoon to see Harold Pinter's "The Caretaker" - written in 1959. It starred David Bradley as Mac Davis, Con O'Neill as Aston and Nigel Harman - the former EastEnder as Mick.
I was so glad I got off my ass to see this production before it closes tonight. The three actors were all superb - really living their parts and clearly grasping the writer's vision. The set was also superb - a junk shop mess of pointless odds and ends. In fact you might say the whole play is pointless. It shows us a world where people don't really communicate, a world of pregnant pauses and leaking ceilings, a world of aimless comings and goings, unspoken or spoken longings, a sense of peace and yet brooding hints of violence. Here Aston and Davis are trying to connect:-
You said you wanted me to get you up. --- Aston
What for? ---Davis
You said you were thinking of going to Sidcup. ---Aston
Ay, that'd be a good thing, if I got there. ---Davis
Doesn't look like much of a day. ---Aston
Ay, well, that's shot it, en't it? ---Davis
For Davis the idea of Sidcup where his papers are becomes something of a promised land - a place he dreams of going but which inside he knows he will never reach.
It was nice to see the play with my lovely Frances - all grown up at eighteen and taking Theatre Studies at school. Riding home on the Stagecoach bus in the November rain, it was nice to reflect on such an enigmatic play with her and to realise that she had appreciated it as much as I had. Wasn't it just yesterday or the day before when I pushed her down to the park in her Silver Cross pushchair?