Previewed 14 November 2015, Opened 23 November 2015, Closed 13 February 2016 at the Trafalgar Studio in London
A major revival of Harold Pinter's classic play The Homecoming featuring an all-star ensemble cast and directed Jamie Lloyd.
A family gathering in North London. Teddy brings his wife, Ruth, home to meet her in-laws. But who will be the eventual winner in a fierce battle for supremacy? Harold Pinterís shocking, hilarious account of the tribal nature of family life astonished London audiences when it was first seen in 1965. Over the years it has lost none of its raw power and disturbing eroticism.
The cast features Keith Allen as 'Sam', Ron Cook as 'Max', John Simm as 'Lenny', John Macmillan as 'Joey', Gary Kemp as 'Teddy' and Gemma Chan as 'Ruth'. Casting subject to change without notice. Directed by Jamie Lloyd with designs by Soutra Gilmour, lighting by Richard Howell and sound by George Dennis.
Keith Allen's West End credits include the role of 'Long John Silver' in Ken Ludwig's stage adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island (Haymarket Theatre 2008). Ron Cook's London theatre credits include Jamie Lloyd revival of Peter Barnesí comedy The Ruling Class (Trafalgar Studios 2015), Michael Grandage revival of William Shakespeare's play Henry V (Noel Coward Theatre 2013) and Jennie Darnell's production of Nigel Planer's play On the Ceiling (Garrick Theatre 2005). John Simm's West End theatre credits include Jamie Lloyd revival of Harold Pinter's play The Hothouse (Trafalgar Studios 2013), Toby Frow's production of Andrew Bovell's play Speaking in Tongues (Duke of York's Theatre 2009) and Paul Miller's production of the stage adaption of Ingvar AmbjÝrnsen's novel Elling (Trafalgar Studios 2007).
When this production opened here at the Trafalgar Studios in November 2015, Paul Taylor in the Independent noted how "Jamie Lloyd offers a notably fresh and blackly funny take on Harold Pinter's The Homecoming in its 50th anniversary year." Neil Norman in the Daily Express hailed it as being "one of Harold Pinter's most compellingly perverse plays." Michael Billington in the Guardian said that "Jamie Lloydís excellent revival offers a fresh approach to the play without in any way violating the rhythms of Harold Pinterís text... Precisely because Pinter never moralises about or resolves the situation, it is a play that, when impeccably acted as here, continues to haunt our dreams." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard held that, "marking the fiftieth anniversary of this key work, it's a lean and controlled interpretation that captures the enigmatic originality of Pinterís terrifying vision of a family in which everyone is a predator... The production doesnít probe the very depths of Pinterís dark reservoir of menace, but itís a claustrophobic and tense account of a play that retains its capacity to shock." Dominic Maxwell in the Times commented how "Jamie Lloydís cast never forgets to relish all the rich, rude, rhythmical language. Itís a colourful, horrible, sometimes horribly funny evening that time has not tamed." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times highlighted that, "staged with deliberately macho swagger and an audacious expressionist edge by Jamie Lloyd, it emerges as a study of territorial powerplay in an all-male household, and as a postcard from the times, showcasing the sheer nastiness of endemic sexism... No one quite escapes the past as Jamie Lloydís hellishly claustrophobic staging suggest a society ripe for change." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail explained that "the play gives us psychological control games, entrapment, a pessimistic idea that we can never escape our past. Cue threatening chords, red lighting, shadowy stairs. Mr Lloyd is not a subtle director. He tells you what to feel. Design trumps dramatic truth." Dominic Cavendish in the Telegraph said that, "in broad terms, Jamie Lloyd delivers an evening that is intense, committed and often Ė because of the dialogue Ė darkly funny. He interpolates stylised tableaux of anguish, rams home the insinuation that these men havenít recovered from child-abuse. But moment by moment, itís not always persuasive."
"Itís a mark of the brilliance of Harold Pinterís fabulously well-written firecracker from 1965 that, after half a century, it has lost none of its capacity to appal. Unfortunately, Jamie Lloydís starry revival renders this power struggle less engrossing and disquieting than it can be, by ironing out too much of the ambiguity and pinning Pinter down too precisely... more blurring of lines would have added to the menace." The Mail on Sunday
"The Homecoming is at once Harold Pinterís most allusive and perverse play, combining his trademark territorial antagonisms with the subversive sexuality of his contemporary, Joe Orton... As so often, director Jamie Lloyd sacrifices subtlety to spectacle, his use of B-movie sound and lighting effects cheapening the play. While Ron Cook is magnificent as Max and Keith Allen effectively slimy as Sam, John Simm, Gary Kemp and John Macmillan are underpowered as the brothers and Gemma Chanís Ruth confuses inscrutable with bland." The Sunday Express
"Although itís never really accurate to describe Pinter, even at his best, as 'enjoyable', this production by Jamie Lloyd is full of wince-inducing and bitterly funny moments. The first minutes fill you with dread that itís all going to be absurdly flashy and overdone, with horribly loud, clangy 1960s pop blaring out at you overemphatically. But Lloyd soon reins it in and lets the play (starkly staged) and the actors do the talking, savouring to the full Pinterís warped lyricism and his charactersí verbose journeys into the more deranged and damaged recesses of their own wandering minds... After half a century, The Homecoming has lost none of its power to intrigue and repel in equal measure, and this is a solid, considered and handsomely acted production." The Sunday Times
The Homecoming in London at the Trafalgar Studios previewed from 14 November 2015, opened on 23 November 2015 and closed on 13 February 2016.
The Homecoming with Ian Holm and Lia Williams 2001
Previewed 22 September 2001, Opened 25 September 2001, Closed 1 December 2001 at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London
Ian Holm as 'Max', Lia Williams as 'Ruth' and Ian Hart as 'Lenny' with John Kavanagh, Nick Dunning and Jason O'Mara. Directed by Robin Lefevre. Ian Holm played the role of 'Lenny'in Peter Hall's original production.
"In this class-one revival of the life's-a-jungle drama set in the full swing of Sixties Hackney... Holm is magnificiently foul tempered - he actually roars lasciviously with it. The girl here is played by Lia Williams - trim, husky and outrageously erotic as she divides and conquers her men. Her prolonged snog with Lenny (Ian Hart, excellent) is one of the more pornographic episodes in theatre history. It's all brilliantly staged on a depressing set dominated by a plush sofa, although when it comes to soft furnishings in modern drama you can't help feeling discretion is the better part of velours. A night for Pinter fans to cherish and Holm fans to marvel at." The Daily Express
"It's a very ugly tale of the unexpected, and if it wasn't occasionally leavened by an even more unexpected, albeit brutal, humour, it would be too nightmarish. It shocked its audiences in 1964, but Robin Lefevre's brilliantly acted production which opened this week at the Comedy Theatre is proof that the play of suspense and suspenders has lost none of its visceral power to disturb. Ian Holm's superb performance as the patriarch Max sounds a new note with the odd flash of a potential cuddliness that he has obviously never been able to express, so it has imploded and become malignant. There's something truly wanton about Lia Williams's portrayal of Ruth. Like Catherine Deneuve's Severine in Belle de Jour, she's simultaneously red hot and ice cool. She's clearly far more at home with the unzipped sexual appetites of her husband's family than she is in America in her husband's zipped-up intellectual circle. Nick Dunning's Teddy, Ruth's husband, looks astonishingly like Bill Clinton - but, ironically, there the resemblance ends, which is why sex-starved Ruth is so vulnerable. His failure to persuade Ruth to return to her children is almost as shocking as her decision to prostitute herself to his family... Pinter's Homecoming nails the nastiest, most predatory aspects of human nature - and I watched with appalled fascination." The Mail on Sunday
The Homecoming in London at the Harold Pinter Theatre previewed from 22 September 2001, opened on 25 September 2001 and closed on 1 December 2001