After its world premiere almost 60 years ago, Harold Pinter’s landmark play The Birthday Party returns to the London stage in a new production by Ian Rickson featuring a power trio of Olivier Award winners: Stephen Mangan, Toby Jones and Zoë Wanamaker. Written in 1957, The Birthday Party was Pinter’s second full-length play, which soon became his most well-known and frequently performed work.
Stanley Webber (Toby Jones), an unemployed piano player, leads a mundane but peaceful life as the only guest in Meg (Zoë Wanamaker) and Petey Boles’ rundown seaside boarding house. When two strangers, Goldberg (Stephen Mangan) and McCann, arrive on Stanley’s birthday, their intentions grow increasingly sinister, and the harmless birthday party organised by Meg slowly turns into chaos. Everyone from the resort owners, to the innocent next door neighbour, becomes entangled in the turmoil of Stanley’s bizarre birthday party.
Widely recognised as one of the greatest plays of the late twentieth century, this intriguing drama is commonly classified as a ‘comedy of menace’: it has a unique ability to keep audiences amused but simultaneously on the brink of terror.
Stephen Mangan is a British actor, best known for his roles as ‘Guy Secretan’ in Green Wing, and ‘Dan Moody’ in I’m Alan Partridge. Mangan’s previous stage credits include his portrayal of ‘Norman’ in The Norman Conquests on Broadway – for which he was Tony-nominated – and his role of ‘Bertie Wooster’ in Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense at the Duke of York’s Theatre.
Toby Jones is a British actor and voice artist, most well-known for his roles as ‘Alfred Hitchcock’ in The Girl and ‘Truman Capote’ in Infamous; he also provided the voice of ‘Dobby’ in the Harry Potter films. Described by the Independent as ‘Britain’s most versatile actor’, Jones’ stage credits include Every Good Boy Deserves Favour at the National Theatre and Parlour Song at the Almeida Theatre. This will be his first stage role since 2011.
Zoë Wanamaker, who is known for her roles in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and My Family, has worked extensively with both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre.
Following critically-acclaimed productions of Betrayal and Old Times, Ian Rickson returns to direct this new production at the Harold Pinter Theatre, open from Tuesday 9 January for a strictly limited 14 week run. Book tickets for The Birthday Party now!