Review: No Man’s Land

No Man's Land Cort Theatre

It’s a Pinter laugh riot! I’m not a big fan of Pinter, but I thoroughly enjoyed No Man’s Land. It’s the most engaging and comic play of his I’ve come across, even the most humane. And the current Broadway production, starring an ideally cast Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, is easily the most lucid rendition of Pinter’s famously not lucid dialogue that I’ve ever encountered.

In No Man’s Land, two writers, the wealthy Hirst (Stewart) and the poor Spooner (McKellen), stumble drunkenly into Hirst’s drawing room, and continue plying on the booze. The two may or may not have a history together – as is usual with Pinter, the moment you think you have an important piece of information about somebody, it is suggested that same information might be a lie.

There is a marvelous unforced ease and interplay that McKellen and Stewart have from decades of friendship and working together – they were in the Royal Shakespeare Company together in the 1970s, long before X-Men. Together with director Sean Mathias, they have somehow transformed the menace that Pinter is known for into something altogether more mysterious, even luminous. Love it.

Billy Crudup is suitably sexy as Hirst’s spiky-tempered secretary Foster, who may or may not be bisexual, but is certainly some kind of perv. Shuler Hensley is oddly affecting as Briggs, the butler, who may or may not be “doing” Foster – at the very least he has a man-crush on him. I recommend this as highly as I could ever recommend Pinter – I’ve never enjoyed him more!

For tickets, click here.

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