The Old Vic - Patrick Merchant, Year 12

Aston, a victim of electroconvulsive therapy, has rescued a wily tramp named Davies from the streets of London and invited him to stay at his brother’s rundown flat. This was the scene that confronted Year 12 students in Culture Club last week as the curtain rose upon Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker; a psychological study of loyalty, innocence and corruption.

Since it premiered in 1960, this production has established itself in the world of theatre as one of Pinter’s greatest commercial successes. Its most recent revival at the Old Vic features an impressive cast; including Timothy Spall, who is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter film series.

The entire play takes place in just one room and has only three characters; placing a glaring spotlight on each actor’s interpretation of their role and providing no action-packed twists to hide behind. Fortunately, Spall thrives in this environment as he is both befriended and ruthlessly exposed for the artful dodger he truly is by Aston’s brother, Mick. Contrastingly, Aston appears to be a gentle giant intent only on building a workshop in the garden - giving the audience a sense that there is a deep anger lurking just below the surface.

Taken at face value, The Caretaker is a 1960s reality show exploring the lives of three eccentric men. Each inhabitant has their own unfulfilled pipe dream, seemingly content to struggle through life with the distant hope of satisfying their strange fixations in a manner that is both infuriating and compelling for the audience.

The Caretaker - Manuel Harlan

This event provided yet another unusual and enjoyable experience for members of Culture Club, which continues to surprise students with new elements of the arts that they wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to explore.