Mon 22nd – Sat 27th Aug 2011


“These talented young players bring aplomb and wit to this sparkling production of Pinter’s rarely performed last play”





MCS Drama


“These talented young players bring aplomb and wit to this sparkling production of Pinter’s rarely performed last play.” Professor Stanley Wells, CBE (Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust)

In a top London restaurant, two East End Mafia bosses and their loud-mouthed trophy wives host a wedding anniversary; an event at which, beneath the polite social chit-chat, lurks a depth of long-stewed resentment bursting to be let out. At a nearby table, a young couple taunt each other with memories of past infidelities, becoming almost strangers to themselves in the process. The staff (over-familiar and more than a little eccentric) circulate and observe, as three marriages become permeated by jealousy, suspicion and doubt.

Acid and outrageous, Pinter’s final stage play (2000) is a vicious expose of wealth, class and marriage in the new millennium. Indeed Celebration is an apt title for a play which provides a brief, vivid snapshot of so many of the writer’s enduring concerns (the battleground of sexual relationships, male power and its desperations, the unverifiable nature of memory). What sets the play so deliciously apart from his other work is that it is, of all his 40 plays, his most unashamed (and outrageous) comedy. Indeed the Sunday Times, writing on the Broadway premiere, felt that the piece was:

“A swaggeringly and vitriolically funny play; it confirms Pinter’s status as, among other things, one of the finest comic writers in the English language” (Sunday Times)

This rarely performed play is here presented by a remarkable company of sixth form students from Magdalen College School, Oxford. MCS was the Sunday Times Independent School of the Year 2004 and 2008. It has a strong extra-curricular commitment to staging productions of classic and modern texts which combine original vision and creative excellence. Recent shows have included a radical 1980s restaging of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, which leading Shakespearean scholar Jonathan Bate praised as “one of the best school level Shakespeare productions I have seen” and a period version of Sheridan’s The Critic staged in the grounds of Blenheim Palace (a World Heritage Site) and directed by Joanne Pearce and Adrian Noble (ex-Artistic Director of the RSC).

Many of the cast of Celebration have previous Fringe experience: In 2009 MCS brought up Big Mac, a satirical re-working of Macbeth set in 1950s Hollywood, and in 2010 Circus of Shadows, a selection of extracts from the darkest corners of British drama, with a central narrative of new writing provided by the school’s Head of Drama and member of the Royal Court Theatre’s Young Writers’ Programme. This year’s show again harnesses the vision and intellectual scope of this unique collection of young people.

Suggested Age Range: 15+ (contains very strong language)

Admission: £7(£5)

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