It’s not overly trying to apprehend the reasoning behind putting on a show like Party Time at this year’s Fringe. Protecting the rich and persecuting the poor is no startling revelation, but the events of recent years have caused the public to turn their head in anger as we realise that, in fact, we are not all in this together.
But the problem with this piece is the same thing that is so right about it: it is that Pinter quality. Like his pause that is so endlessly peaceful and teeth shatteringly frustrating, some of his work is admirable yet self-indulgent. The Room, The Birthday Party and The Homecoming are all great plays and I’ve seen great productions of them. Party Time does not stand tall amongst them, but it does still have that Pinter stamp that I find so cringing.
The play doesn’t really have a plot as such, but follows the seemingly meaningless conversations of a privileged few. As they dine and sip champagne, the army protect them from the horrors of poverty and confused poetry that lie beyond the door.
The young cast all perform fantastically well, maintaining a sense of urgency throughout, despite the superficiality of their words. There is an odd tension that teeters on the tip of sanity throughout and this is largely down to the taut directing and energetic acting.
It just about avoids overstaying its welcome, running at just 45 minutes long, but even then you can feel it pulling on your patience. The ending is horrendously bloated to the point of real annoyance, though I’ve no doubt die-hard Pinter fans would love it.
Overall, it’s good enough but I’m not sure I’ll be seeing another production of Party Time anytime soon.
Event: 18 August, 2012, 4:10pm