Play by Harold Pinter. 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.
Harold Pinter's other London theatre plays include The Hothouse, Betrayal, Old Times, The Dumb Waiter, The Lover and The Collection, The Caretaker, One For The Road, and The Birthday Party . In addition a collection of Harold Pinter's sketches was presented in 2007 under the title Pinter's People.
1965: West End London Premiere at the Aldwych Theatre
Opened 3 June 1965, Closed 11 March 1966 (in repertory) at the Aldwych Theatre
Returned 5 December 1966, Closed 9 December 1966 (4 performances) at the Aldwych Theatre
The cast featured Paul Rogers as 'Max', Michael Bryant as 'Teddy' (up to 11 March 1966), Michael Craig as 'Teddy' (December 1966), Vivien Merchant as 'Ruth', Ian Holm as 'Lenny', Terence Rigby as 'Joey', and John Normington as 'Sam'.
Directed by Peter Hall, with designs and lighting by John Bury.
Presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Prior to London this production embarked on six-week regionl tour which opened at the New Theatre in Cardiff on 26 March 1965, and continued to Manchester Opera House; Sunderland Empire Theatre; Liverpool Royal Court Theatre; Cambridge Arts Theatre; and Brighton Theatre Royal.
The return season in December 1966 comprised just four performances, with one cast change from the original. This was a pre-New York run, with the production and cast staring public previews at New York's Music Box Theatre on 3 January 1967, for an Opening Night on 5 January 1967. Interestingly on Broadway it played a 'straight-run' run of just over nine-months (with cast changes), meaning that this original production played over twice as many performances on Broadway than it did in the West End. On Broadway the production won three Tony-awards, for 'Best Play'; 'Best Actor' for Paul Rogers; and 'Best Supporting Actor' for Ian Holm.
1978: 1st West End London Revival at the Garrick Theatre
Opened 1 May 1978, Closed 21 October 1978 at the Garrick Theatre
The cast featured Timothy West as 'Max', Oliver Cotton as 'Teddy', Gemma Jones as 'Ruth', Michael Kitchen as 'Lenny', Roger Lloyd-Pack as 'Joey', and Charles Kay as 'Sam'.
Directed by Kevin Billington, with sets by Eileen Diss, costumes by Lindy Hemmings, and lighting by Mick Hughes.
Prior to London the production was presented at the Brighton Theatre Royal from 24 to 29 April 1978 with the same cast.
1991: 2nd West End London Revival at the Comedy Theatre
Previewed 3 January 1991, Opened 10 January 1991, Closed 1 June 1991 at the Comedy Theatre (now Harold Pinter Theatre)
The cast featured Warren Mitchell as 'Max', Greg Hicks as 'Teddy', Cherie Lunghi as 'Ruth', Nicholas Woodeson as Lenny, Douglas McFerran as 'Joey', and John Normington as 'Sam'.
Directed by Peter Hall, with designs and lighting by John Bury.
1997: London Revival at the National Theatre
Previewed 17 January 1997, Opened 23 January 1997, Closed 29 May 1997 (in repertory) at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre
The cast featured David Bradley as 'Max', Keith Allen as 'Teddy', Lindsay Duncan as 'Ruth', Michael Sheen as 'Lenny', Eddie Marsan as 'Joey', and Sam Kelly as 'Sam'.
Directed by Roger Michell, with designs by William Dudley, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, and sound by Christopher Shutt.
2001: 3rd West End London Revival at the Comedy Theatre
Previewed 22 September 2001, Opened 25 September 2001, Closed 1 December 2001 at the Comedy Theatre (now Harold Pinter Theatre)
A major revival of Harold Pinter's The Homecoming in London starring Ian Holm and Lia Williams
The cast featured Ian Holm as 'Max', Nick Dunning as 'Teddy', Lia Williams as 'Ruth', Ian Hart as 'Lenny', Jason O'Mara as 'Joey', and John Kavanagh as 'Sam'.
Directed by Robin Lefevre, with sets by Eileen Diss, costumes by Dany Everett, and lighting by Mick Hughes.
This production was delayed by two weeks: Originally scheduled to begin public previews from 11 Septemer 2001, with an Opening Night on 13 September 2001, the production was initially delayed by 6 days, with previews from 17 September, and opening on 19 September, due to the indisposition of Ian Holm who had just had a minor operation. It was then further delayed by another 6 days, with previews from 22 September 2001, and an Opening Night on 25 September 2001.
This production was original staged at the Gate Theatre Dublin from 12 to 30 June 2001 with the same cast.
"The Homecoming is also a Holm-coming: Ian Holm played Lenny, one of three grownup sons in a musty North London house, in the original production. He was unforgettable then... Now he plays the widowed, retired butcher, Max, with exactly the same whiplash attack and dangerous glee... Lia Williams is a tremendous Ruth: crossing her legs, or simply drinking a glass of water, she is come-hither sensuality personified in a platinum blonde hairdo, eyes and lips idly half-open... Nick Dunning plays the academic philosopher Teddy, a man who cannot answer the simplest question if it is not in his 'province', with the smarmy self-assurance of an exile from his own background." The Daily Mail
"Ian Holm plays a miserable old git not a million miles from his last stage outing as another miserable old git, namely King Lear. In this version he has three sons, one of whom has come back from America with a wife. By the end of the evening her husband hs gone back to the States alone while his family queue up for sexual favours which she grants like Cleopatra... Holm is magnificently foul tempered and disgustingly lascivious 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... A night for Pinter fans to cherish and Holm fans to marvel at." The Daily Express
"We get a very funny Max from Ian Holm, but a rounded one too - the man in all his brutality and frustration... The 1esser members of Max's unlovely all-male household are equally the product of heightened but acute social observation, and the performances in the production are correspondingly well judged... Ruth is less a real woman than a figure out of such a fantasy, at once eerily passive and potentially overwhelming. But that calls for exceptional magnetism from the actress who plays her, and though Lia Williams has her undoubted allure, she is too obvioĶs a tease, and too little a siren who works her spell just by sitting there. It's a perfectly good performance, within its limits, but it rather lowers the voltage of an otherwise first-rate production." The Sunday Telegraph
"Lia Williams gives a magnificently, unsettlingly calm and erotic performance. With only the most minimal make-up, she is at first unrecognisable. Her lips pout, promising everything and nothing. Her voice is sultry, soft and husky - both intimate and remote, as if acting on the film screen of an adolescent mind. With such a woman, both common and poised, Max and his sons can feel both empowered and powerless... Ian Holm embodies this sense of the half-repressed primitive with the economy of a master. This is a monstrously eloquent performance, in which a ratlike respectability and a doglike need to be dominated struggle for supremacy." The Sunday Times
The Homecoming in London at the Comedy Theatre previewed from 22 September 2001, opened on 25 September 2001, and closed on 1 December 2001
2008: London Revival at the Almeida Theatre
Previewed 31 January 2008, Opened 7 February 2008, Closed 22 March 2008 at the Almeida Theatre
The cast featured Kenneth Cranham as 'Max', Neil Dudgeon as 'Teddy', Jenny Jules as 'Ruth', Nigel Lindsay as 'Lenny', Danny Dyer as 'Joey', and Anthony O'Donnell as 'Sam'.
Directed by Michael Attenborough, with designs by Jonathan Fensom, lighting by Neil Austin, and sound by John Leonard.
2015: 4th West End London Revival at the Trafalgar Studio
Previewed 14 November 2015, Opened 23 November 2015, Closed 13 February 2016 at the Trafalgar Studio (now Trafalgar Theatre)
A major revival of Harold Pinter's The Homecoming in London featuring an all-star ensemble cast
The cast featured Ron Cook as 'Max', Gary Kemp as 'Teddy', Gemma Chan as 'Ruth', John Simm as 'Lenny', John Macmillan as 'Joey', and Keith Allen as 'Sam'.
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's 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's 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."
The Homecoming in London at the Trafalgar Studios previewed from 14 November 2015, opened on 23 November 2015 and closed on 13 February 2016.