Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"Sex and Death: A Night with Harold Pinter": Theater Review 

Wednesday, Mar 9 2011
Comments

Neither The Dumbwaiter nor The Lover can be numbered among Harold Pinter's major works. So it's understandable that Off Broadway West has packaged these one-act plays together under a new name: Sex and Death: A Night with Harold Pinter. The title and pairing are apt, but not perfect. As directed by Cecelia Palmtag, The Lover (a tale of infidelity) often seems more violent than The Dumbwaiter (a tale of two gangsters, directed by Durand Garcia). Like most Pinter plays, they can be played equally well for comic or dramatic effect. The results here are uneven, with Garcia and Palmtag going their own ways on tone, timing, and intensity. The "Death" portion of the evening has its charms, but suffers in part because the central conceit — two men in a room being given nonsensical instructions from an unknown source about a job they're supposed to do — has become something of an avant-garde trope since Pinter wrote it in 1959. The Lover, from 1962, hasn't as successfully infiltrated the culture and so, paradoxically, has aged better. It's hardly a new take on adultery, but it definitely surprises. If you're up for a lot of intensity and the occasional shrug, you'll enjoy rooting through Pinter's work.

About The Author

Benjamin Wachs

Related Locations

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Slideshows

  • Trixxie Carr Presents: Maneater at Oasis
    January 14, 2015 was the first night of Trixxie Carr Presents: Maneater at Oasis in San Francisco. Photos by Calibree Photography.
  • No Pants BART Ride 2015 - NSFW
    The No Pants BART Ride commenced on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. Participants rode without pants, and at the end of the ride they disembarked at The Mission to bar hop, eat burritos and take selfies. Photos by Richard Haick.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed