The Dumb Waiter – May 2011


By: Harold Pinter

Directed by: Tim Astley

Company: Apollo Theatre Company

Venue: Mill Studio, Guildford

Date: Saturday 7th May 2011

It was interesting to see this play again. I’d enjoyed it at school; although I don’t usually ‘get’ plays just from the text, the unsettling atmosphere of menace came right off the page with this one. The venue tonight supported this feeling, with the small space and brick walls adding their own sense of dilapidated claustrophobia. The set itself comprised a back wall with a door far left and a doorway far right. There were two single cot beds either side of the central dumb waiter door, which was quite small and square. The speaking tube was to the right of that door, but lay on the floor underneath.

The actors were on stage when we entered. Ben was reading the paper on the bed on our right, while Gus was lying on the left-hand bed until close to the start, when he took his time putting his shoes on. Simon Cotton’s portrayal of this character was on the fussy side, bordering on camp. I wasn’t sure how this would work, but the tension built up pretty well, so no complaints there. Ross Ericson was fine as Ben, with just enough bluster to his authority until the final moments.

This was a reasonably good touring production, which got a very good response from the audience – friends and family, perhaps?

© 2011 Sheila Evans at

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