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Thursday, 31 May, 2001, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
Pinter leaves loud play
Harold Pinter
Many of Pinter's plays are considered classics
Acclaimed playwright Harold Pinter walked out on a new play after it opened with a burst of extremely loud music.

Pinter, 71, and his wife Lady Antonia Fraser left the Almeida Theatre at Kings Cross just before the curtain came up on Neil LaBute's new offering.

The Shape of Things, starring The Mummy actress Rachel Weisz, starts with extremely loud bursts of rock grunge from the Smashing Pumpkins.

Neil LaBute
Neil LaBute has won the Filmmakers' Trophy at the Sundance Festival
Artistic director Ian McDiarmid confirmed Pinter had left because of noise.

But he insisted it was a deliberate decision by director LaBute to include loud music, which plays in the auditorium as the play is about to commence.

LaBute has an impressive list of film and theatre credits to his name including Nurse Betty, starring Rene Zellwegger, and The Company of Men.

Good reaction

One theatre-goer told BBC News Online: "The play began with loud bursts of the American rock band which proved too much for Pinter.

"He and his wife were not the only ones to leave but that may have been because it was hot inside the theatre but the play itself got a good reaction."

Pinter has written such celebrated plays as The Caretaker, The Lover and The Room.

The Shape of Things is a gritty tale of an art student, Weisz, who falls for a man, leading to strained relationships with friends.

Each new scene is marked with a burst of the Smashing Pumpkins soundtrack.

The preview performance saw actors Tom Georgeson, who starred alongside Weisz in Land Girls, and Tom Hollander in attendance.

One critic said: "The play went down very well but divided the audience into polar opposites of those who loved it and those who did not."

Initial press reviews have applauded the play and the performance.

A spokesman for the Almeida said Pinter had an aversion to loud music and left before the play began.

See also:

30 May 01 | Film
Returning Mummy holds top spot
02 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Renee's box-office cure
01 Jun 99 | Entertainment
Harold Pinter takes on Nato
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