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Theatre review - Pinter Seven: A Slight Ache / The Dumb Waiter

Jamie Lloyd’s impressive season of Harold Pinter’s short works ends on a high with this terrific double-bill.


Originally a radio play, Lloyd sets A Slight Ache (1958) in a recording studio. A middle-class, married couple, Flora (Gemma Whelan) and Edward (John Heffernan) are admiring their garden when things start to go awry.
A wasp lands in the marmalade and disturbs their morning idyll. Matters take a darker hue when Edward becomes suspicious of the silent match-seller who stands in the lane, just outside their garden gate. Distrust swiftly turns to obsession.
Heffernan and Whelan are beautifully convincing as the smug couple who hide their troubled psyches behind social niceties.
The Dumb Waiter (written in 1957) is the better known play. Two smartly-dressed hitmen, Ben (Danny Dyer) and Gus (Martin Freeman), await orders for their next job in a windowless basement in Birmingham.
Ben reads the paper while Gus paces. He recalls a previous murder that was particularly unpleasant. After …