Seeing a Pinter play on stage is, for me, a somewhat trepidatious enterprise: like Chekhov or Shakespeare, there is fragility in Pinter’s savage poetry that can easily become leaden, impenetrable in performance. How surprising then that Mary-Arrchie’s “Caretaker” feels rather light, goofy even, with little sense of the menace or danger that hangs thick in this play on the page. But director Hans Fleischmann’s “slapstick” approach is surprisingly effective for the most part, inducing an (unexpected) steady stream of laugh-out-loud moments throughout. Some excessive mugging does slow down the inherent clip of Pinter’s dialogue at times, and the dialects falter during some of the lengthier speeches, but Richard Cotovsky (Davies), Dan Kuhlman (Mick) and Todd Lahrman (Aston) navigate the idiosyncrasies of Pinter’s world (made fantastically claustrophobic by scenic designer John Wilson) with an almost grimy glee—delivering a genuinely fun and disarming production of a play that could otherwise take itself much too seriously. (Valerie Jean Johnson)
At Angel Island, 731 W. Sheridan, (773)871-0442. This production is now closed.