This gently amusing play features two strong performances from Stephen Tompkinson and Andrew Lancel but the play itself feels a little rushed.

If you have a fondness for cricket and theatre then I recommend that you check out this gentle play that has enough hints of a slightly darker undertone particularly in the second act that just does enough to keep the audience intrigued for the duration of this 50 minute production.

Shomit Dutta’s new play sees theatrical greats and good friends Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter who are waiting their time to participate in a cricket match – except neither of them seem particularly keen to get involved. Their conversation is suitably lyrical and witty, with Dutta highlighting their fondness of literature and cricket in equal measures, but the conversation meanders pleasantly throughout – although I did feel as though the play is rushed somewhat and could have used a little more depth.

Directed by Guy Unsworth and filmed live at Lords Cricket Ground, Stumped has many enjoyable moments in it that both Stephen Tompkinson and Andrew Lancel are thoroughly able to make the most of – particularly during the second act. For me the second act is slightly stronger as the pair attempt to get home waiting for an unseen Doggo to come and pick them up -it has a darker tone to proceedings that is intriguingly developed and I would have been interested to see what happened beyond the end of the play. There is no doubting it has been cleverly constructed.

Throughout it all, there is a strong hint of absurdity to proceedings thanks to the way in which conversations unravel – but it highlights the intelligence of both personalities and the the affection that they had for each other. The whole play has a quirky charm that can’t fail to draw you in but it certainly could have been developed further.

At the centre, there are two excellent performances from Stephen Tompkinson as Samuel Beckett and Andrew Lancel as Harold Pinter – capturing the opposing nature of their personalities beautifully. Their delivery and way in which they bounce off each other is truly delightful.

Sharp and witty, this is an entertaining play that deserves further development to give audiences more of an opportunity to spend time in the company of Beckett and Pinter.

By Emma Clarendon

Stumped will be available to watch on demand from the 27th September 2022 until 27th September 2023.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


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