Pinter's Party Opens at Piccadilly, 26 AprilDate: 26 March 1999
Forty-one years after it premiered to scathing reviews at the Lyric Hammersmith, Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party, now considered a modern classic, returns in a major London production. Following a national tour, the production, starring Prunella Scales, opens at the West End's Piccadilly Theatre on Monday 26 April (previews from 20 April).
The Birthday Party centres around Stanley, a lodger in a seaside boarding house owned by Meg and Petey Boles. One day Stanley's peaceful existence is threatened by the arrival of mysterious strangers Goldberg and McCann. The play displays Pinter's trademark mixture of humour and menace, realism and the absurd.
Prunella Scales, who plays 'Meg', is a veteran of the stage and screen. Her recent theatre credits include Long Day's Journey Into Night and School for Scandal at the National Theatre and Simon Gray's Just the Three of Us. Her recent films include Stiff Upper Lips and, soon to be released, An Ideal Husband.
Steven Pacey, who plays 'Stanley', starred last year opposite Jane Asher in Alan Ayckbourn's Things We Do for Love at the Gielgud Theatre. He has also appeared in the West End in Leave Him to Heaven, Mr Cinders, High Society and By Jeeves, for which he received an Olivier nomination. Also in the cast are: Timothy West ('Goldberg'), Nigel Terry ('McCann'), Barry Jackson ('Petey') and Lisa Dulson ('Lulu').
The Birthday Party is directed by Joe Harmston, who started his career as an assistant to Harold Pinter. Last year, Harmston directed Pinter's The Lover and The Collection, starring the playwright, at the Donmar Warehouse. The Birthday Party is designed by Tom Rand, with lighting by Robert Bryan and sound by Simon Whitehorn.
The production visits Salisbury, Richmond, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bradford and Bath prior to the West End.