The Birthday Party Criticism

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The nearly unanimous negative reviews that assaulted the 1958 London premier of Pinter's The Birthday Party baffled the young playwright but never dampened his spirits. Those early reviewers, with the exception of Harold Hobson, found Pinter's play unfunny, obscure, and derivative. In the Evening Standard, Milton Shulman, scoffed that the work would "be best enjoyed by those who believe that obscurity is its own reward" and further complained that the play was not very funny, in part because "the fun to be derived out of the futility of language" was becoming a "cliche of its own." Meanwhile, M. M. W., the reviewer in the Manchester Guardian, wrote that Pinter simply obfuscated both character and action with "non-sequiturs, half-gibberish, and lunatic ravings," and suggested that the playwright might do much better if he would forget "Beckett, Ionesco, and Simpson." For the anonymous reviewer in the Times, the play stacked up...

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This section contains 772 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Drama for Students
The Birthday Party from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.