Review: When the staging is bigger than the play - Boy, Almeida
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Comments and critics on Timothy Spall's The Caretaker, Old Vic

Timothy Spall (Davies) in The Caretaker at The Old Vic. Photo by Manuel Harlan (5)
Timothy Spall (Davies) in The Caretaker at The Old Vic. Photo by Manuel Harlan

People are kind enough to stop by this blog and leave a comment occasionally but my review of The Caretaker seemed to attract more interest than normal. The consensus of opinion from the comments seemed to be that the production is "dull and boring" - to quote one - although there was one person who really seemed to like it.

I too liked it, although it didn't warrant the long running time. In liking it I was accused by one person of fawning over Timothy Spall and raving about it because it was at the Old Vic. I don't think I did but I'm going to put that to one side because there is a whole separate post about how some people can't seem to disagree with others without sounding like they are personally affronted.

The play hadn't been seen by critics when these comments were written so I was curious as to whether it would divide opinion just as much. And  I think it is fair to say it hasn't gone down as a resounding success. There are more four star reviews than three star but there are three star reviews and it is interesting that the running time does get mentioned in a few:

"The production already feels a bit water-logged at three hours, largely thanks to the decision to have two intervals which are neither needed nor justified here. " What's On Stage

"Matthew Warchus’s revival protracts the overall experience to three hours with two intervals (that’s almost enough time to walk over to Sidcup, where Davies’s fabled identity records are kept)." Daily Telegraph

I won't pick over the reviews in detail as Megan Vaughan has done a really good job of that on The Stage website except to say that a few comment on how funny it is. Although I did laugh a few times, I can't say I'd describe it as a comedy and definitely not "exceptionally funny". Perhaps the humour is blossoming as it beds in.