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"In its heyday the Lemon Tree built a considerable reputation for hosting serious, high-quality drama in its theatre studio, attracting cutting-edge theatre companies with challenging productions. Now the Lemon Tree is being run by Aberdeen Performing Arts it looks like it is back on the right track. Last night's sell-out performance of The Caretaker by London Classic Theatre is a good example of the standard of drama now on offer. LCT produced The Caretaker in 2004 and this superb revival, directed by Michael Cabot, is the centrepiece of its 10th anniversary year. The play focuses on Davies, an elderly drifter, played here by the brilliant Nicholas Gasson, who is given shelter by the vulnerable Aston, played to hair-raising perfection by Richard Stemp. An uneasy peace is fractured by the arrival of Mick, Aston's quick-witted younger brother, played by a decidedly menacing Nicholas Gadd. An unsettling power game ensues among Geraldine Bunzl's beautifully detailed, derelict set."
Roddy Phillips - Aberdeen Press & Journal

"London Classic Theatre’s tour is a revival of their production from 2004, though just two of the original cast, Nicholas Gasson and Richard Stemp, return - as Davies and Aston, with John Dorney now as Mick. They are an excellent trio, with Gasson as the cunning leech very effectively latching onto the weaknesses of the pathetically brain-damaged Aston and the superficially quite plausible Mick. There’s a highly atmospheric cluttered set of piled-up boxes and junk soaring upwards into an attic, by Geraldine Bunzl. Michael Cabot’s direction is precise, but it’s also effectively unobtrusive."
Alan Hulme - Manchester Evening News

"The great strength of Michael Cabot's fine production is the realisation that the two brothers are equally incapable of going anywhere. They too are stuck in their impossible, albeit small, dreams. Brain damaged Aston is never going to build his shed, buy any of the interesting things he sees on his walks or indeed finish mending the plug he's always fiddling with. Nicholas Gasson, returning to the role of Davies in this revival of London Classic Theatre's 2004 production, raises the querulous inertia to a pitch of wheedling pleading that is truly unnerving. Richard Stemp, also returning to his role in the earlier tour, gives Aston's voice a quiet, strangulated monotone which invests his utterances with a truly enigmatic strength. He only varies it in the great speech when he reveals his hospital treatment, which is delivered with extraordinary power."
Victor Hallett - Theatre in Wales 

"In a wonderful performance Nicholas Gadd was a prickly Mick, with Richard Stemp as the taciturn but deeply troubled Aston. Nicholas Gasson was excellent as the scheming tramp Davies. Once again, London Classic Theatre shines with quality and adds much to a depleted touring scene in Ireland."
Liam Murphy - Munster Express

"Richard Stemp was impressive as the kindly but vulnerable Aston, bringing a staccato, blunted edge to the role that is undoubtedly the most complex in the play. Of course, we don’t believe he’ll ever get round to building the shed he talks of, but Stemp’s sympathetic portrayal meant his self-deception became something to pity rather than hold in contempt."
Robin Gibson - Hexham Courant

"This was an immensely satisfying production in which the superb performances were matched by high technical standards. By far the most effective interpretation of Pinter's work that I have ever seen and the reaction from the audience demonstrated that there is a huge appetite among the theatre-going public for high quality drama."
Graham Williams - South Wales Evening Post

"Touring company London Classic Theatre celebrates its tenth year in existence with a strong production of one of Harold Pinter’s most resonant plays. It is the second time around for LCT, which first staged the drama six years ago, and the reprise benefits from an obvious affinity for, and understanding of, the work; the production is clear, focused and restrained."
Rachel Andrews - Sunday Business Post

"The tramp Davies who wants to get back to Sidcup to collect his ‘papers’ is excellently performed by Gasson. At first, downtrodden by Mick, he manages the transformation to persecutor very impressively when he learns of Aston’s undefined mental problems. Stemp in a low-key, understated performance is convincing as the wistful, gentle but ineffective Aston. He flares up but once and it’s a memorable moment. Gadd is menacingly flash as Mick. He relishes his hold over both men but is nevertheless vulnerable too."
Hugh Homan - The Stage

"Director Michael Cabot gets strong performances from a cast up to the challenge of conveying the complex emotions underlying Pinter's dialogue. Part Alf Garnett-like bigot, part washed-up music hall comedian, Nicholas Gasson's Davies is magnificent - by turns coarse, prissy and vindictive."
Chris Tracy - Eastern Daily Press

The Caretaker

CREATIVE TEAM:
Writer: Harold Pinter
Directed by Michael Cabot
Designed by Geraldine Bunzl
Lighting by Peter Foster
Photography: Sheila Burnett

CAST:
Nicholas Gadd, Nicholas Gasson, Richard Stemp (April-June 2010).
John Dorney, Nicholas Gasson, Richard Stemp (September-November 2010).

SELECTED VENUES:
Theatr Brycheiniog Brecon, Torch Theatre Milford Haven, Winchester Theatre Royal, Buxton Opera House, Gala Theatre Durham, Everyman Cork and Norwich Playhouse.

THE SHOW:
Davies, an ageing down-and-out, is given shelter by the kindly but vulnerable Aston.  He quickly settles in, calmly making himself at home in the squalid, junk-filled room until Mick, Aston’s brother, a far more astute character, arrives.  A battle of wits begins as the brothers seek to manipulate the old man to their respective ends.  But Davies has his own agenda and not everything is as it seems…

A landmark of twentieth century drama, The Caretaker was first performed at The Arts Theatre, London in 1960.  Over forty years on, Pinter’s compelling study of loneliness and power games still has the power to amuse, to shock and to fascinate.

Playwright, director, actor, poet and political activist, Harold Pinter was born on 10 October 1930 in East London.  He wrote twenty-nine plays including The Birthday Party, Old Times, The Homecoming and Betrayal.  In 2005, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.  He died on Christmas Eve 2008.

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