Members say: Confusing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow, Intense

About the show

Roundabout Theatre Company presents Clive Owen in his Broadway debut in this unsettling drama of desire and blurred realities by British playwright Harold Pinter.

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A married couple are visited by the wife's former roommate, whose presence raises questions about the nature of the three's past and present relationships with each other. Deeley is quite looking forward to meeting Anna, his wife Kate’s friend from long ago. But as the night goes on, Anna’s visit quickly shifts from an ordinary sharing of memories to a quiet battle for power. Tony Award winner Douglas Hodge directs this revival of the haunting and passionate play, which has not been seen on Broadway in over 40 years.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

The New York Times

"If you’ve seen 'Old Times' before, and retain fond memories of its quiet creeping impact, Mr. Hodge’s flashy production may well irritate you...Though this is not an 'Old Times' for purists, it has its pleasures...I’ve seldom seen a cast so palpably enjoying delivering Pinter’s dialogue, even if it often here feels closer to Noël Coward...I’d love to see them have the chance to lower their voices, kick off their poses and make themselves more comfortably at home in this ever-discomfiting play." Full Review

New York Post

"The stars of 'Old Times' always look like they’re a second away from having sex. Clive Owen, Eve Best and Kelly Reilly generate such heat, you may need a cold shower after the show. Or maybe just a rub against what looks like a giant icicle on that stage...You may not tell what it all means, if anything, yet the message comes through: Game on!" Full Review


"Under the deft direction of Douglas Hodge, 'Old Times' casts its spell from the moment we enter the theater and refuses to relent until we leave...Hodge excels at drawing out the comedy in Pinter's script...This beautiful and bewildering production holds us enthralled from beginning to end." Full Review


"The Roundabout Theater Company’s Broadway revival of 'Old Times' can’t possibly miss. Harold Pinter’s three-handed battle for sexual dominance is an incredibly sexy play, properly cast here with three incredibly sexy performers: Clive Owen, Kelly Reilly and Eve Best. Director Douglas Hodge has made some curious production choices, but once the erotic games begin, you hardly notice that the writer’s signature pauses and ominous silences have been trimmed." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"If you see the play as a profound portrait of a permanent human condition, it’s going to disappoint, which is exactly the trap Douglas Hodge’s production falls into...He has encouraged an excellent cast to play the subtext so broadly that it basically everts the drama, leaving very little sense that feasible humans are involved. Even so, the actors are good enough to make it fun...With neither the history nor the hostility very mysterious, the sum on this one-plus-one-plus-one plot is zero." Full Review

Time Out New York

"If the central conflict of 'Old Times' is a man trying to protect his wife from a predatory stranger, it has been diluted by uncertain acting choices...Despite overdetermined design and asymmetrical performances, Pinter’s precise, lyrical language comes through with crystalized, cutting force. Nothing here feels old; the blood flows freshly from new wounds." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"I wonder if, somewhere along the line, someone decided that this brief, highly intimate play simply needed to be blown up to fit the stage of a midsize Broadway house. If so, it represents a major miscalculation on the director's part. He had at his disposal an excellent Pinter text and three highly skilled actors, which alone were enough to guarantee a fascinating, chilling evening in the theatre. The visual and aural distractions diminish the work." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"Dwarfed by a vast set, this production of a Pinter play intrigues but never really disturbs it's audience...What should feel haunting, upsetting, frightening and menacing never quite does. This 'Old Times' feels smaller than its set would suggest. In the first scene Kate suggests, 'Anyway, none of this matters.' It should matter more." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"There’s no getting around Pinter’s deliberately cryptic text, and several of Hodge’s choices, rather than working to ground the goings-on in some recognizable reality and thus orient the audience, instead seem to revel in the play’s weirdness...'Old Times,' while certainly mysterious in its action and rigorous in its language, feels slighter than Pinter’s more familiar work because it is not as ominous nor charged, a puzzle not as worth the time to contemplate." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Does it rise? Does it breathe? Sadly, no...One must point the finger at director Douglas Hodge. Whatever music is to be found in this Pinter play remains unheard. Whatever drama, mostly unseen...I really have no idea what Pinter is up to in this play. But I'm certain Hodge and his team haven't figured it out either." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"A haunting revival with a sterling cast...The result is an electrifying hour of theater that crackles like lightning...As always with Pinter there is an element of menace and mystery that creeps into the most banal banter, and Hodge's brilliant cast delivers both." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"Audience response will depend largely on the appetite for Pinter at his most opaque — or some might even say attenuated...Its fascination is quieter and more cryptic, to the point where some will find it bloodless...This is quite a sexy production that coaxes out both the sensuousness and the sorrow in the text, as well as the needling humor." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"By all rights, the production should have been good...It is, however, almost perfectly awful, and I think it’s safe to say that the fault belongs to Douglas Hodge, the director, who apparently supposes that the right way to stage 'Old Times' is to camp it up." Full Review

AM New York

"There's really no middle ground when it comes to the late English playwright Harold Pinter. You're either mesmerized by his mysterious, menacing, pause-filled psychological dramas or you find them puzzling, inert and empty -- as I usually do...The cast is excellent...'Old Times' is likely to feel like either an intense roller coaster rush or a dull, nonsensical sketch. Good luck with it." Full Review

New York Daily News

"The work is blurry and up for grabs...The pleasures of the production come from watching three excellent actors confidently wind through the words, pauses and poses. Anna tells Deeley, 'You have a lovely casserole.' She means wife, but the mind and tongue play tricks. So does Pinter. It’s easy to get mixed up watching his puzzling stew, er, play. In the end, you’re somehow satisfied though you don’t know exactly what you’ve eaten." Full Review


"Hodge and company play the humor over the menace, which mostly works in this brief drama...Detracting from the whole is that set, which is framed by an abstract swirl of circles, and some introductory music by Thom Yorke that nearly had me bolting from the theater before the proceedings got under way. Once they did however, I was hooked. I only wish I could figure out who was reeling me in." Full Review


" Douglas Hodge doesn’t trust the material – or his audience. He has gussied up this minimalist, spare drama with a huge set which overpowers and distracts from the play. The loud, booming music gives an entirely wrong introduction for the play about to be seen...Unfortunately, director Douglas Hodge has made this revival provocative for all the wrong reasons." Full Review

Bob's Theater Blog

"The play was not without its merits...The dialogue had moments of entertaining word play. Under Douglas Hodge’s direction, the usual long Pinter silences were virtually absent...I just did not find the competing memories that involving. Under better circumstances, I might have enjoyed it more. In my opinion, offering a 65-minute play at Broadway prices is pushing the limits." Full Review

The Associated Press

"There's lots of lounging around, staring at each other and trying to repress the bubbling longings beneath the polite chitchat. This is a play where crossing or uncrossing one's legs is fraught with meaning. It is as hard to grasp as the cigarette smoke...A little more than an hour after it started, the play is over, as it began, with three slumped figures, filled with brandy but no casserole, and plenty left unsaid." Full Review

The Wrap

"The actors share a feverish imagination that doesn’t have much to do with the text, but nonetheless illuminates it in quirky ways. I haven’t had this much fun in the theater since Ivo van Hove set 'A Streetcar Named Desire' in a bathtub at the New York Theatre Workshop. Having fun isn’t what you typically expect from watching a Harold Pinter play, much less one of his more indecipherable works...Pinter purists will hate this production." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"The test of any production of this enigmatic, talky 70-minute one-act is whether it keeps you engaged, and Douglas Hodge’s new production mostly does the trick...There’s little doubt that many theatergoers will be frustrated by the lack of a definite conclusion, and many will nod off more than here and there. But those who keep up with these 'Times' will be rewarded." Full Review


"Is it possible to be dazzled by the cast, stunned anew by the elusive meanings of Pinter's 'Old Times' and yet appalled by the production? OK, maybe "appalled" is too rough -- but not by much. Let's say that director Douglas Hodge's tricked-up staging of this gem is bizarre, at best, and betrays a lack of trust in the lean, unnerving brilliance we know as Pinteresque." Full Review


"Owen’s Deeley abounds with archness but doesn’t reach into the core of his pain or loss...But it’s Best who commands attention. Her Anna is smart, alluring, vulnerable and quixotic. 'There are things I remember which may never have happened but as I recall them so they take place,' Anna says at one point. 'Old Times' is just as slippery, mysterious and seductive." Full Review


"Seldom has an enigma been as ravishingly compelling as in the provocative revival of 'Old Times' that opened Tuesday night. With a trio of fine British actors breathing life into their cryptic characters, the dance of memory and seduction in Harold Pinter's brief 1971 play never flags for an instant...Under the vibrant direction of actor Douglas Hodge, the actors give a flesh-and-blood dimension to a deep, clever, understated play that could, in the wrong hands, be simply fanciful." Full Review


"A carefully cultivated revival...The sensory-assault announces we’re back in Pinter territory: abstract, and make-of-it whatever we will...The lack of action may lead you to find it polarizing -- I loved hearing one theatergoer confidently sniff to a companion: 'Well, this is art!' We can never be sure the truths the characters talk about are true at all. To paraphrase the playwright, the past is what these characters remember...or pretend they remember." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Boring, Edgy, Slow, Unengaging, Incomprehensible

See it if I wouldn't recommend this production to anyone. Unintelligible and, therefore, hard to sit through. Lots of words without meaning.

Don't see it if you value your time. This Pinter was especially mystifying. Very long, even at 70 mins (an expensive ticket for a short time in the theater)

Also I'm catching up with reviews of shows I saw pre-Show Score. I was disa... Read more Read less

Great acting, Quirky, Slow, Dated

See it if Interesting play, rough around the edges.

Don't see it if you won't, it closed.

Indulgent, Disappointing, Slow, Elliptical

See it if you're a Pinter die-hard. The turntable set revolving at a glacial pace sums up the play: actors going round&round but getting nowhere.

Don't see it if you can help it.

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Profound, Confusing

See it if You like to be haunted by a story and don't mind being confused. This play is very Freudian.

Don't see it if You like straight forward stories

Clever, Dizzying, Exquisite, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if you like your Pinter elliptical and stylish, with an erotic edge and magnetic performances

Don't see it if you want a production with less ambiguity or more footholds

Confusing, Slow

See it if you are open to being puzzled by theater

Don't see it if you want a straightforward play. This is confusing on purpose, and manages to feel slow and yet end quickly.

Indulgent, Disappointing, Excruciating, Overrated, Slow

See it if Not worth seeing. Slow and boring. Extremely disappointing since these actors are usually excellent. The play made NO sense. Terrible show.

Don't see it if If you don't like Pinter. And even if you think you do like Pinter this play may change your mind.

Thought-provoking, Romantic, Indulgent, Excruciating, Slow

See it if You love Pinter and like experimental plays that may or may not have a plot.

Don't see it if You need a plot, or dislike Pinter.

Edgy, Intense, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you like Pinter. Like all of his work, it's not an easy evening but can be very rewarding. This time, not so much.

Don't see it if you're not a Pinter fan. His work is difficult even at it's best.

Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Confusing

See it if you like confusing thought provoking theatre.

Don't see it if you don't like confusing story lines.

Indulgent, Confusing, Excruciating, Slow, Incomprehensible

See it if Excruciating, incomprehensible, slow moving, depressing and self indulgent play. A total bore.

Don't see it if You want a lively or engaging, absorbing story.

Great acting, Indulgent, Confusing, Excruciating, Slow

See it if you want something heady and well performed.

Don't see it if you're easily confused (or even not so easily confused).

Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Confusing, Great staging

See it if you want a play that requires a lot of thinking (during and after), you like Pinter, and you like interesting staging

Don't see it if you need a concrete explanation of what is happening during the play - the second act is inscrutable

Disappointing, Cliched, Great staging

See it if you want to see Clive Owen, Eve Best and Kelley Riley! It was a great cast for sure. you appreciate unique staging

Don't see it if you don't like cerebral, slow moving shows

Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you want a sexy, puzzling rumination on love, marriage, power, and memory. And, of course, to drown in Clive Owen's smoldering charisma.

Don't see it if you dislike ambiguity.

Indulgent, Confusing, Pretentious, Interesting, Different

See it if you like the actors. It was somewhat overacted (though I got the feeling it was directed to be so) but did hold your interest.

Don't see it if you expect it to make sense or resonate. The performers have chemistry but at the end you're just not sure they took you anywhere.

Absorbing, Confusing, Overrated, Slow

See it if you are an avid Pinter fan -- or a Clive Owen fan.

Don't see it if you think that it's not worth going to Broadway for a 65-minute play.

Great acting, Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating, Overrated

See it if don't - beyond obtuse.

Don't see it if don't

Indulgent, Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating, Dated

See it if you love Pinter

Don't see it if I still don't understand what happened here.

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you're a fan of Pinter and have an understanding of his work.

Don't see it if you don't like long dramas that make you think.

Great acting, Intense

See it if You can appreciate an intense, three person play with a minimal stage and a lot of nuance.

Don't see it if You have problems concentrating as this play requires your focus and will be very confusing if you're not paying attention.

Great acting, Indulgent, Confusing, Slow, Overdesigned

See it if you enjoy great acting and want to be in and out of a show in minimal time.

Don't see it if you have no patience for Pinter at his most Pinter. You don't want to listen to subscriber audiences cough relentlessly through a quiet play

Great acting, Profound, Confusing

See it if Harold Pinter is your cup of tea.

Don't see it if You do not want to think but just entertained.

Ambitious, Enchanting, Great acting, Intense, Resonant

See it if you don't need a clear story line. This is more poetry than traditional play.

Don't see it if you need a traditional story.

Ambitious, Great acting, Intense, Quirky, Cliched

See it if You like Heavy drama that is more literature than entertainment

Don't see it if You are looking for something light and fun

Cast & Creatives (10)