Fredo's Theatre Group 
An archive of our reviews 2019 (Part Four) 
Back to OnOurOwn click HERE 
Pinter 5: The Room, Victoria Station and Family Voices by Harold Pinter, 
at the Harold Pinter Theatre 
What's it about? You expect me to answer that question! This is Pinter where abiguity and atmosphere is all. 
What did it have going for it? A Pinter trio of two major short plays and a playlet, plus a great cast including Rupert Graves, Jane Horrocks and Nicholas Woodeson 
Did we enjoy it? Like a ballet triple bill (and sometimes just as perplexing), there are one or two piecesin this trio guaranteed to please. Everyone would have their favourite(s) here. First was The Room (from 1957) which could not have been more Pinteresque - mundane chit-chat across a bleak breakfast table in a drab bedsit, unknown visitors, tension, menace, then sudden violence when least expected - just my cup of Pinter tea! Jane Horrocks was at her best ever as the downtrodden housewife. 
After the Intverval came Victoria Station (1982) with a dazed taxi-driver in his cab and the frustrated controller at his switchboard - unexpectedly hilarious and played with perfect timing by Rupert Graves, tousled and monosylabic, and Colin McFarlaine at his wits end. 
Finally we heard Family Voices (1981), monologues from mother, son and father, disillusioned and disjointed turns spoken to the audience, and certainly another disfunctional family. Jane Horrocks became the middle class mum with clipped vowels and Rupert Graves was the Brylcreemed father. But the stand-out performance came from Luke Thallon as the fragile son, isolated in another bedsit with troubling memories of his past and demons in his head. We had previously seen this young actor in The Inheritance at the Young Vic last year, and it's now good to see him come from the ensemble of one play to a stand-out role in another. 
Our Rating: 4/5 
Would the Group have booked?. The cast would attracted some and 'collectible Pinter' some more, so a group visit may have been viable if only prices and availability allowed it. 
Would the group have enjoyed it? Mixed blessings. 
Group Appeal: 3.5/5 
Ramin Karimloo in Concert at Cadogan Hall 
What's it about? It was a concert performance, with the star attraction and three support acts. We were guests of our friends Jan and Michael. 
What did it have going for it? It had Ramin Karimloo, who has played the Phantom and Jean Valjean in London and other parts of the world. We had seen him in Love Never Dies, but this was the first time wed seen him in concert. There were plenty of musical theatre students in the audience, to learn and appreciate. 
Did we enjoy it? The first 30 minutes were the support or rather, 3 different acts with vocalist musicians of varying ability at the start of their careers. It was good experience for them, if not especially good for us. 
Ramin Karimloo was the main event, and worth the wait. What a performer! He has it all - the voice, the looks, the personality, the relaxed confidence and the good taste to choose the right material. He was backed by a 5-strong band, with a slight blue-grass accent, which made for some interesting and fresh arrangements. We had a song from The Bridges of Madison County, and then one from Love Never Dies, which brought the audience to their feet with cheers. His rendering of Music of the Night was sensational: he sensuously caressed every word of Charles Harts lyric, making the song new again. It wasn't all show tunes; he sang some new material, some that he'd written himself. Ninety minutes later, by the time he led the audience in a sing-along Do You Hear the People Sing?, they would have stormed the barricades if hed told them to. 
Our Rating: 4/5 
Would the Group have booked? They still can: hes at the Palace Theatre, Westcliff on 30 January. 
Would the group have enjoyed it? Definitely 
Group Appeal: 4/5