We really enjoyed this play and production. It is a rare example of a Pinter comedy, which he wrote during his heyday in the mid 1950s but I don’t think it got produced until a fair bit later.
Being Pinter, the line between comedy and tense psychodrama is a thin one. Indeed, plays like The Caretaker, The Birthday Party and The Dumb Waiter are sinister yet have plenty of humour in them. The Hothouse has plenty of humour yet is sinister; it is set in an anonymous government run mental institution. Say no more.
This was a superb cast and production. Stephen Moore, Finbar Lynch, Leo Bill and Lia Williams the standouts. For once, the awkward depth/shape of the Lyttelton stage could be used to good effect for an institutional look.
It was pretty well received by the critics on the whole:
- London Theatre sums up what the critics said here;
- Michael Billington certainly liked it – here;
- Ian Shuttleworth also spoke highly – here.