I went pretty late in the run for Trafalgar Studio’s Homecoming, so there’s not much left to say; you can’t go now. It was brilliantly sit and stylishly staged, and now that I’ve been here for another 5 years I understand its slang a lot more: the mysterious mangle, the women “on the game,” why stylishly dressed men own houses on Greek Street. I can hardly imagine this play having been done better.
This leaves us, then, with the question of the script. Would three men live with their father/brother in a situation where pretty much everyone of them was constantly a violent asshole to each other (with the exception of the uncle)? Would the missing brother of the younger generation actually ever come home to this disaster area? Is it really even possible that he would have got a PhD in philosophy, given that his dad was a butcher, his brother a pimp, and his other brother an amateur boxer/construction worker?
Would he bring his wife into this circle of bad chemistry? Would she really talk to all of the men about her underwear? Could she have left her life as a nude model and become a model wife for six years …. and then decide to give it all up, to walk away from her children and be a prostitute?
I like to see Pinter because I feel like his plays are little mysteries that we, initiated members of the theatrical cognoscenti, are able to puzzle through. But I’m about ten years into my Pinter kick and I have this to say about my second professional outing with Homecoming: it doesn’t make any sense. Pinter made a bunch of characters up who possibly worked individually, but as a family realistically interacting together, not a bit of it coheres. Well, okay, I buy the four men who live in the house, but the man whose homecoming this is sticks out as unnaturally as a Bauhaus extension to a Victorian apartment block. It doesn’t work. Tension is created, but at the end, you have to throw your hands in the air and say, “This just doesn’t work!” Pinter has failed to create people any normal person can believe in, and he’s got no one to blame but himself. I’ll flag this play up as not worth viewing ever again; I just don’t have time to waste with such laziness.
(This for a performance that took place on Wednesday, February 10th, 2016. It has closed.)