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Old Times

Evening Herald, Dublin, 11th May 1994

We had seriously good stuff from the Pinter Festival last night with the opening of this play from the 70s. This is a mesmerising play about two women friends meeting up after a separation of 20 years, in the presence of one of their husbands.

It’s a very poised piece and the sparsity of emotion means that the reunion (an event which usually receives such fulsome sentimental treatment) – has a subtle immediacy.

Crisp, brisk dialogue – deliver by Olwen Fouere at her cool best and by Catherine Byrne dramatically playing the distant, dreamy Kate – is precise and full of novelistic detail.

Michael Pennington is superb as Kate’s husband Deely who vies with Fouere’s Kate to prove he has greater insights, and more rapport with, Kate’s enigmatic character.

The underlying mockery of the smart London set to which they all once belonged and the characters literal interpretation of things are very amusing.

More memorable though is the contrast between serenity and tension which pervades the play.

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