The Homecoming

  • 2 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
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The Homecoming was first performed in 1965 after Pinter had taken a five-year pause over full-length stage work. Significantly, it concerns the return of academic son Teddy (Jayston) to his North London familial nest, a smouldering pyre of hatred and resentment presided over by Max (Rogers). This demonic Alf Garnett, when not spitting contempt for his poovy bachelor brother (Cusack), waxes hateful, rapturous and disgusted about his dead wife, best friend, and homebound sons, loquacious pimp Lenny (Holm) and dumbbell pugilist Joey (Rigby). In this battle of wills, Teddy's enigmatic wife (Merchant) finally triumphs, while hubby returns to his US campus unsure of his ability to operate 'on' situations rather than 'in' them. Hall has produced his best work for the cinema with this sensitive adaptation: a riveting, often hilarious piece (with outstanding performances from Holm, Cusack and Rogers) which makes one quite melancholy about Pinter's self-willed decline into a Bakerloo Line imitation of Samuel Beckett.

By: SGr

Release details

Duration: 114 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Peter Hall
Screenwriter: Harold Pinter
Cast: Cyril Cusack
Ian Holm
Michael Jayston
Vivien Merchant
Terence Rigby
Paul Rogers

Average User Rating

2 / 5

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1 person listening
Emma S

I really didn't like this play, mostly because I had no idea what was going on most of the time. It's an all star cast, featuring Gemma Chan, Gary Kemp (fresh off the Spandau Ballet tour), and Ron Cook, and I suspect they do justice to Harold Pinter's strange play that was first performed in 1965. I felt the acting was good, I just didn't enjoy it. Cook plays widower Max who swings from charming to a raging maniac, brother Lenny is a twisted arsehole and younger brother Joey just seems a bit slow. Older brother Teddy and his wife Ruth seem to be the only normal people in this whole charade but that changes the longer they stay in the house. 

It's just... weird. There is an every-glowing lightbulb that suggests the place is haunted. I wondered why the hell this guy's two grown up sons and brother still lived their with him when it's such a toxic environment. There are suggestions of child abuse, that are never explained. In fact, there are a lot of suggestions that never actually go anywhere. Professional reviewers will say it's as much about what isn't said, as it is about what is. I just really had no idea. Skip this one.