On May 19th 1958 Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party premiered at the Lyric Hammersmith – and received almost universally negative reviews, playing to empty houses for just eight performances. Only one critic, Harold Hobson, praised the piece and celebrated Pinter as a voice for the future.

Fifty years later the play is now regarded as one of the undisputed classics of post-war drama, and Harold Pinter is considered as the UKs greatest living playwright, having been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005.

The Lyric celebrates the birthday of The Birthday Party in a new fiftieth anniversary production directed by Artistic Director David Farr, which coincides with the exact dates of the original.

Stanley is lying low at a run-down Guest House on the South Coast, with the slightly unwelcome attentions of his landlady as his only distractions. Then the house receives a visit from two men – Goldberg and McCann – who have come to fetch him back.

Harold Pinter’s mastery of quiet menace is already in full evidence in this early masterpiece as The Birthday Party grows in suspense to an ultimately terrifying conclusion.

Suitable for theatregoers aged 12 and older.

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