REVIEW: The Dumb Waiter & A Slight Ache, The Lantern Theatre

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Dilys Guite Players presented a double bill of one-act plays by Harold Pinter.

Two hitmen, Ben and Gus are waiting in a disused café basement for their victim to appear. At first their conversation is droll and relaxed. However when random food orders show up in the titular dumb waiter, both characters become increasingly agitated.

Ben, played by Simon Hanna, is the senior of the two and tries to calm an increasingly anxious, paranoid and manic Gus, portrayed by Simon Atherton. The tension builds to a shocking conclusion.

In the second offering a mute matchseller is invited into the home of married couple Edward and Flora. They wish to discover why he has been standing day and night by their front gate. By doing nothing but listen as Edward and Flora separately endeavour to cajole answers from him he is inadvertently (or perhaps surreptitiously) providing a mirror for their own insecurities.

They both alternate between being kind and nasty to him, reflecting their own ever-changing self worth.

The man is old and they both mock him for this, revealing their own fears of aging and death. The kindness is different for the husband and wife. The husband imagines the man as a great cricketer, knowing these days are behind him. The wife pictures the man as handsome and strong, worrying that she has lost her sexual attractiveness.

David Chafer and Melanie Crawley are the insecure couple in serendipitous free psychoanalysis with The Matchseller, Tim Baron.

Stephen Grigg