The Dumb Waiter is a quintessential early Pinter play from 1960, one that feels almost Beckettian if not absurdist. It is set in a room, a situation with bags of sinister mystery with just two players. I always think of what the French writer Jean Anouilh said about Waiting for Godot on seeing Beckett's play for the first time in Paris in 1953. "Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes. It's awful."
We soon meet Buttons (Rufus Hound) in sparkling, improvising, stand up form who has us all laughing with brilliant and original innuendo and improvisation. So charming is Rufus Hound that he has schooled the whole audience to shout "Fuck the Tories!" on his every entrance.
Superbly directed by Kath Burlinson, this is a masterclass in acting and characterisation. The play starts with the actor switching posture to play both women but varies with a recording of just the mother's voice so we can see all of the daughter's reactions to her mother's words. Later with clever editing, a split screen allows us to see and hear both mother and daughter at once.