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Review: "Old Times"

(c) The Wall Street Journal

June 9, 2011

By Terry Teachout

Tracy Lynn Middendorf, Steven Culp and Holly Twyford in Harold Pinter's '"Old Times".'
Photo (c) Scott Suchman
Speaking of serious fun, the Shakespeare Theatre Company is doing excellent things with ""Old Times"," Harold Pinter's compact, creepy comedy (or is it?) about a smug husband, his seemingly naive wife and a house guest whose arrival has an effect on the couple not unlike pitching a hand grenade into their bedroom.

While every aspect of this production is impressive, the best thing about it is Holly Twyford, who gives a stupendously good performance as Anna, the mysterious guest. The contrast between Ms. Twyford's tightly crossed legs and the long arms that she flings about like the tentacles of a carnivorous octopus is both riotously funny and downright frightening.

Steven Culp and Tracy Lynn Middendorf are very fine as the married couple, and Michael Kahn's staging is full of smart touches. All praise to Walt Spangler for designing a living-room set that resembles the interior of a deep freeze decorated by Mies van der Rohe.

This is the first Pinter play to be produced by the Shakespeare Theatre Company. May it not be the last.

"Old Times"

Shakespeare Theatre Company
Lansburgh Theatre
450 Seventh St. N.W., Washington

($37-$88), 202-547-1122
Closes July 3

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