Photography by Idil Sukan
Sonia Friedman Productions has announced a new production of Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party which will run at the Harold Pinter Theatre, 60 years since the play’s debut, from 9th January to 14th April 2018.
Stanley Webber (Toby Jones) is the only lodger at Meg (Zoë Wanamaker) and Petey Boles’ sleepy seaside boarding house. The unsettling arrival of enigmatic strangers Goldberg (Stephen Mangan) and McCann disrupts the humdrum lives of the inhabitants and their friend Lulu, and mundanity soon becomes menace when a seemingly innocent birthday party turns into a disturbing nightmare. Truth and alliances hastily shift in Pinter’s brilliantly mysterious dark-comic masterpiece about the absurd terrors of the everyday.
Following critically-acclaimed productions of Betrayal, and Old Times, Ian Rickson returns to direct The Birthday Party. Starring in this comedy of menace are trio of Olivier Award winners, Golden Globe Award-nominated Toby Jones (The Girl, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Infamous), Tony Award-nominated Stephen Mangan (The Norman Conquests, Jeeves and Wooster, Episodes) and Tony Award-nominated Zoë Wanamaker CBE (Electra, Passion Play, My Family). This will be the seventh Harold Pinter play that Sonia Friedman has produced, three of which have been directed by Ian Rickson, who also directed Pinter himself in his last performance as an actor in Krapp’s Last Tape.
Ian Rickson said: “I knew Harold from when I ran the Royal Court and he was a great mentor to me. Doing The Birthday Party is particularly thrilling because as with the best first major plays – like first albums, and first novels – it has the intense DNA of the writer’s inner life; their yearnings, their obsessions, their longings. There’s something about The Birthday Party in particular that’s so raw and committed – it has this kind of anarchic, punk spirit and I’m just so excited about directing it.”