THE SERVANT
Etcetera Theatre, London NW1
Opened 19 March, 1991

Weird. The programme employs the affectation of referring to the company as "Mr" or "Ms" whoever, and the production is caught in the same time-warp. It is performed more or less as it would have been 30 years ago, if Joseph Losey and Harold Pinter had never got their hands on it and turned it into a gloriously subtle film. The end product here is a kind of neo-Gothic Ray Cooney atmosphere dominated not by the eponymous gentleman's gentleman (or in this case, shit's shit) but by the unsettling delivery of Ken Potter as the master, who enunciates with the slight over-deliberation of an alien or a hypnosis subject in a different kind of muted '60s drama. It's so utterly divorced from anything on a contemporary stage that actual value-judgement is difficult but it is strongly and pointlessly reactionary.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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