Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse opened at Trafalgar Studios earlier this month, and this star-studded production of the macabre black comedy has already received glowing reviews. Fans of British theatre who fancy a trip to the West End this summer should seize the opportunity to catch some classic Pinter at a cosy, contemporary venue.
The Hothouse was written in 1953 but after the commercial failure of his previous play, The Birthday Party, Pinter put it aside. After finally being staged and published in 1980, the play quickly earned renown as a biting and prescient political satire.
Set on Christmas day in a mental institution where inmates are at the mercy of a deranged leader and his deluded staff, Time Out describes The Hothouse as “a pleasingly deranged, Orton-esque hybrid of old fashioned English farce and Pinter’s brutal ’80s satires”.
Directed by Jamie Lloyd, the stellar cast includes legendary stage actor Simon Russell Beale and John Simm, who television audiences will recognise from Doctor Who and Life on Mars.
Pinter, who was born in Hackney in 1930, is widely considered to be one of the 20th century’s most important British playwrights. His works include The Caretaker and The Dumb Waiter, both exhibiting a signature style that used absurd situations, unspoken menace and black comedy to arresting effect. Pinter was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005.
Trafalgar Studios is one of London’s youngest and most exciting venues, inhabiting the building formerly occupied by the Whitehall Theatre. Since the current incarnation opened in 2004, the building’s two intimate performance spaces have hosted some of London’s most innovative theatrical productions.
The Hothouse runs until August 3rd and tickets can be purchased through Trafalgar Studios’ website. The theatre is easy to reach from most major landmarks and hotels in London; those travelling via the London Underground should head towards the Charing Cross, Embankment and Westminster tube stops.