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The Hothouse [Paperback]

Harold Pinter
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

19 July 2007

The Hothouse was first produced in 1980, though Harold Pinter wrote the play in 1958 just before commencing work on The Caretaker.

'The Hothouse is one of Pinter's best plays: one that deals with the worm-eaten corruption of bureaucracy, the secrecy of government and the disjunction between language and experience.'

Michael Billington.

'The Hothouse is at once sinister and hilarious, suggesting an unholy alliance between Kafka and Fedyeau.'

The National Theatre presented a major revival of The Hothouse in July 2007.

'The foremost representative of British drama in the second half of the twentieth century.'

Swedish Academy citation on awarding Harold Pinter the Nobel Prize for Literature, 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (19 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571238483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571238484
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 83,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Harold Pinter was born in London in 1930. He lived with Antonia Fraser from 1975 and they married in 1980. In 1995 he won the David Cohen British Literature Prize, awarded for a lifetime's achievement in literature. In 1996 he was given the Laurence Olivier Award for a lifetime's achievement in theatre. In 2002 he was made a Companion of Honour for services to literature. In 2005 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and, in the same year, the Wilfred Owen Award for Poetry and the Franz Kafka Award (Prague). In 2006 he was awarded the Europe Theatre Prize and, in 2007, the highest French honour, the Légion d'honneur. He died in December 2008.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the Play, See the Production 6 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've passed the play on which means I can't remember the characters names. The two principals are played at the Trafalgar theatre by John Simm and Simon Russell Beale, I urge anybody who reads this to consider seeing its production. It is Pinter's attack on Russian bureaucracy but the absurdity of excess paperwork is creeping into our way of life. A warning to all.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harold Pinter's most kafkian drama 18 Jan 2002
By Ventura Angelo - Published on
This drama is a nightmare made for the theater. We don't know, and it isn't really important,if this is a political,social,existential satire or what; we can but gaze in horror at the poor victims of a bunch of demented wardens.All is shown like in an unreal light, as in a lucid dream. And moreover, this gloomiest of dramas is also uncannily funny. Creepiest Pinter's Play.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pinter is Punting Again 9 Aug 2009
By John F. Rooney - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"The Hothouse" (1958) Harold Pinter's fifth play, was not produced until 1980. Largely farce and black comedy, it takes place in a mental institution where the staff cares so little about patients that they are only known by numbers. Patient No. 6457 has recently died, and Patient No. 6459 gives birth; the father is probably a staff member. We never meet any of the patients in this full-length play. Roote is the boss, and Gibbs is his second-in-command. Miss Cutts is the only female character.
As usual there are funny bits, almost like vaudeville gags, and mainly Absurdist dialogue. Roote is an insensitive supervisor, and the seven characters act robotically with very little humanity on display. When we listen to some of the dialogue by the minders of the mentally disturbed, we wonder if the tables haven't been turned.
Roote's morality and statements about staff members having affairs with patients is strange to say the least. "I don't mind the men dipping their wicks on occasion. It can't be avoided...It does no harm to either party...Never ride barebacked and always send in a report."
Gibbs and Cutts "torture" attendant Lamb with electrodes and ask a series of inane, farcical questions. Almost everything in the play is weird and off the wall. Who runs the nut house? Why, of course, the real nut cases. The play shows Pinter's fascination with words, the frequent nonsense and meaninglessness of words.
In one scene Roote keeps throwing whiskey in the face of the character Lush. Roote feels he is going to be murdered, and the play takes a sinister turn; again, the introduction of menace a la Theater of the Absurd. The play ends on a very grim, frightening note.
As the play progresses, it becomes less successful as a dramatic work. Pinter pulls out all the stops and doesn't quite knit it together. It gets too sensational without getting very meaningful. We need not ask of it, as a Theater of the Absurd piece, to be sensible, but we would like it to be significant. Black comedy, but a lot of shock for its own sake. Shock your audience but do it for a point or a purpose. Like Kafka it has a nightmare quality and a loss of contact with reality. It is not one of Pinter's better works, manipulative not deeply felt or successfully executed.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Whose House? 29 Dec 2010
By Vance - Published on
At times intriguing, at times annoying, but ultimately satisfying, this play wavers between farce and serious drama and then leaves one guessing.
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