I AM taken gently to task by my colleague Terry Grimley.
Last week, I said Harold Pinter was the man whose plays are not remotely in danger of being described as funny – and the Post’s arts editor has responded with a disbelieving broadside.
“I think his plays are often hilarious.
“What about Mick’s rambling monologue in The Caretaker about how somebody might have got from one part of London to another using this bus or another, or the stuff about Aston Villa in The Dumb Waiter?
“Maybe I’ve got an odd sense of humour, but the sheer po-facedness of it often has me spluttering.
“And there are comic moments in his film scripts for The Servant and Accident which are among my favourites of the period – especially his own cameo as the TV producer Dirk Bogarde can’t remember as a former student in Accident.”
It is a charming chastisement that makes me realise I have clearly been overwhelmed by the largely unleavened laughter-free atmosphere that is the general ambience in my experience of Pinter.
I must invest in a new hearing-aid for the other bits before I risk my next encounter.
* Walsall’s Grange Players are clearly the flavour of the month – every month – these days.
It’s more than a week since the box office report for Gym and Tonic, which opened last week at the Grange Playhouse, was that it was a complete sell-out, with 116 people on the waiting list for returns.
A lot of supporters are going to be disappointed, but one who won’t be is Jeffrey Holland, of television’s Hi-de-Hi! fame, who is the group’s patron. He is assured of a seat at the final performance on Saturday.
* The popular Saturday-morning children’s theatre that members of the Swan Theatre Amateur Company provide once a month at the Worcester venue has had to up sticks – but only temporarily.
The theatre is undergoing renovation work, so the children’s theatre is moving to the city’s Huntingdon Hall for the rest of the season, starting with The Reluctant Dragon on February 7.
The season’s other children’s theatre productions affected are Trouble and The Birthday Present (March 7) and Mr and Mrs Constable and the Voice-Catcher (April 4).
Meanwhile, the parent company is also involved in a temporary move. Its production of The Murder of Maria Marten, or The Red Barn, will be at the Norbury Theatre, Droitwich, from February 26-28.
* There is certainly something different about Oldbury Repertory Players’ Sleeping Beauty.
Not only does the Ogre (Mark Willcox) have what must be the biggest roar of the season: Toni Bird is a Good Fairy who comes wind-assisted, with a flurry of imitation flatulence the assured accompaniment for every piece of magic.
It’s different and it’s going down a storm. The show runs until Saturday.