Phil Willmott

50th anniversary revival of Harold Pinter’s seriously creepy play, THE HOMECOMING

The Homecoming - Harold Pinter Gemma Chan and John Simm lead the cast of the 50th anniversary revival of Harold Pinter’s seriously creepy play, THE HOMECOMING.

Since the Whitehall Theatre, once home to now unfashionable sex farces, was turned into the Trafalgar Studios no one’s been quite sure what to do with it.

It’s an awkward sized and shaped venue that doesn’t quite have enough capacity to make runs of commercial theatre a viable business proposition.

Then Howard Panter, head of the Ambassadors Theatre Group which owns the building, had the idea of establishing a resident theatre company there under the artistic directorship of Jamie Lloyd. Since then the place has enjoyed a series of hits for that regime including RICHARD III starring Martin Freeman and Gina McKee, EAST IS EAST featuring Jane Horrocks and Ayub Khan Din (currently on a UK tour with Pauline McLynn), THE RULING CLASS and MACBETH, both starring James McAvoy, THE HOTHOUSE with John Simm and Simon Russell Beale, and THE PRIDE with Hayley Atwell, Mathew Horne, Harry Hadden-Paton and Al Weaver.

It’s just been announced that their next production will be a 50th anniversary revival of THE HOMECOMING a seriously creepy play by Harold Pinter, to be directed by Lloyd with Keith Allen, Gemma Chan, Ron Cook, Gary Kemp, John Macmillan and John Simm in the cast.

Jamie Lloyd has said: “This is a significant anniversary for this iconic, game-changing play and I couldn’t be more excited to be creating it with this dynamic cast of powerful actors. This production is the first project from our company’s new and ambitious slate of work that I can’t wait to announce over the coming months. I am thrilled to be introducing Pinter’s masterpiece to a new and diverse audience at Trafalgar and, determined as ever to make our productions as accessible as possible

It’s quite hard to summarise the plot as it’s one of those plays where it’s not entirely clear what’s going on but it projects an atmosphere of sexual menace that’s completely gripping. You can tell there’s something very nasty going on beneath the surface and you’ll enjoy forming your own theories as to what that is and what the characters and scenario represents. Nominally a long lost son, Teddy returns from America to introduce his wife Ruth to his family in London, they discover a claustrophobic and brutal household where his father Max, brothers Lenny and Joey and Uncle Sam live in a state of mutual loathing and festering resentment. Theirs is a motherless, compassionless and lawless home where Ruth immediately becomes the centre of attention.

It’s hard to disagree with the press release that concludes “Pinter's sinister masterpiece simmers with suspense and rings with savage humour as Ruth navigates her way between the roles of predator and prey in an incisive battle of wills.

The production runs from 14 November 2015 – 13 February 2016.

I’m particularly excited to see Gemma Chan on stage as Ruth who was so good recently playing the lead role of Anita in the Channel 4 drama HUMANS and John Simm, reunited with Jamie Lloyd having starred in the Trafalgar production of THE HOTHOUSE. His popular TV and film appearances include lead roles in EVERYDAY, TUESDAY, MIRANDA, 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE, HUMAN TRAFFIC, THE VILLAGE (BBC), PREY (ITV), MAD DOGS (SKY TV), DR WHO, LIFE ON MARS, STATE OF PLAY and THE LAKES (all BBC TV). Other theatre credits include THREE DAYS IN THE COUNTRY (National Theatre) and SPEAKING IN TONGUES (Duke of York’s).

The Homecoming tickets