The New World Order

A series of short plays
by Harold Pinter

Directed by Adam Nichols, Imogen de la Bere and Simon Nicholas

26th – 29th November 2003
Trestle Arts Base, St Albans

11th August 2004
Trestle Arts Base, St Albans

15th - 21st August 2004
Zoo Venues, Edinburgh



To view photos click here.

Gulf War 2... Guantanamo Bay... Hutton Furore
Human Rights / Human Wrongs?

In the run up to the US elections and the re-election of George Bush Jnr, a timely revival of these funny, shocking, powerful and moving plays.

What the Papers Said

18th August 2004

TAKEN from a phrase uttered by George Bush snr in the wake of the Gulf War, early 1990s play The New World Order was Pinter’s response to a political system in which he had no remaining faith.

Here the OVO troupe merges New World with other political flurries taken from the playwright’s extensive back catalogue, such as his late 1980s play Mountain Language, in which he presents the oppression of an unnamed people in an unspecified totalitarian state for the crime of keeping their own language. Each ode to Pinter is a well-honed warning bell in the run-up to this year’s possible re-election of George Bush jnr.

Film and music nicely meshed with the live action, both epitomising and uniformly acknowledging the characters superficial forms of communication.

After the weapons of mass destruction fiasco, this play is proof positive that Pinter’s work will never lose its resonance or relevance.

Company in a powerful take on Pinter shorts
4th December 2003

Andy Bilton reviews a strikingly dark production...

It's not every day that you wander into a former church and come across a bloodstained man who has been handcuffed to a chair and had a balaclava pulled tightly down over his head, but that is exactly what happened to me last Satuday night in St Albans.

My look of astonishment was mirrored on the faces of the hundred or so other people who were with me at the time, and several of the more responsible ones among us looked as if they were about to whip out their mobile phones and test the response times of the local constabulary.

We were in the spacious confines of the Trestle Arts Base at the time, and fortunately it became quickly clear that the poor hooded chap was one of the initial participants in a theatrical production called The New World Order.

Performed by the newly formed local group OVO, this was a collection of six plays and sketches written by the playwright Harold Pinter and was in fact the first time that such a literary mixture had been presented on the stage.

Directed by one of the group's co-founders, Adam Nichols, stories included Party Time and Mountain Language. Although focusing on the supposed tyranny of American and British imperialism, their concepts were universal in scope, exploring the dark themes of war and oppression and the eternal struggle between good and evil.

This was a production that got its cylinders firing on full power from the moment the audience sat down. The subject matter was already raw and frightening, but the talent of this motley crew of actors - which included three members of the Nicholas family - brought a touch of real menace to their parts.

Trevor Oakes particularly shone on this final night performance, initially with his swaggering portrayal of the zealous torturer in One for the Road, and then later with his portrayal of the despotic Minister of Culture in the sketch Press Conference.

All the victims played their creatures-caught-in-headlights roles with uncomfortable accuracy, and particular credit must be give for the youngest member of the cast, nine year old local Adam Bottomley, who played the child victim Nicky with courage.

The production was also backed up by the clever use of stirring music and pre-recorded video clips which were beamed onto a large screen in the auditorium.

This was innovative, inspiring and imaginative local theatre at its very best from a top notch group.

Bravery pays off for New World
4th December 2003

IT takes a brave theatre company to put on a production as unremittingly gloomy as The New World Order.

But OVO, the new kids on the local theatrical block, are made of stern stuff and tackled the Harold Pinter piece and associated short plays with great confidence and aplomb last week.

There is little to laugh about or even smile at in any of the plays which OVO put together under the collective title The New World Order.

But they make the most of a host of fascinating characters in the plays which focus on oppression and the fate of its victims, played out against a background of jingoistic music, scenes from the Gulf War and a truly mesmerising multi-screen showing everything from news clips to catwalk models.

Many of the characters in the plays are defeated by the circumstances they find themselves in but their humanity shines through and the love and dedication of their nearest and dearest against all the odds is a powerful motif.

What makes their oppressors so compelling is their total belief in the rightness of their cause.

Take Nicholas, who alternately smarms over and torments his captives in One for the Road. Trevor D. Oakes gave a confident and mature performance as a character with all the charm of a cobra, convinced that there is only one path and that is his.

The characters can be split into two camps - the oppressors and the oppressed. David Berryman, particularly good as an Officer in Mountain Language, and Mark Baker, whose spivvy Terry dominated Party Time, fall into the former category.

Alan Duncan is the symbol of oppression throughout the plays, whether as Victor in One for the Road, Jimmy in Party Time or merely the Blindfolded Man in The New World Order.

He receives excellent support from Dee Dillistone's Gila and Sara Davis as a Young Woman who has the courage to stand up to the oppressors.

Sue Dyson, always a safe pair of hands, comes into her own as Melissa in Party Time although her grief as the mother of the prisoner in Mountain Language is palpable.

Not one member of the cast could be faulted in the production which ran for four nights at the Trestle Theatre in St Albans. The paucity of scenery and the starkness of the location were both perfect for what was performed.

Director Adam Nichols had a strong team for the production and the nucleus will be there or thereabouts for the remainder of OVO's self-tagged Freedom season which promises more good things to come next year.



The New World Order
Blindfolded man - Alan Duncan (Nov 03) / David Berryman (Aug 04)
Lionel - Ashley Nicholas
Des - Fred Nicholas

One for the Road
Nicolas - Trevor Oakes
Terry - Mark Baker (Nov 03) / Adam Nichols (Aug 04)
Victor - Alan Duncan (Nov 03) / David Widdowson (Aug 04)
Nicky - Adam Bottomley
Gila - Dee Dillistone

Stephen - David Widdowson
Roger - Peter Wood

Mountain Language
Elderly Woman - Sue Dyson
Young Woman - Sara Davis
Sergeant - Mark Baker (Nov 03) / Adam Nichols (Aug 04)
Officer - David Berryman
Guard - Peter Wood
Second Guard (Nov 03) - Court Harding
Prisoner - David Widdowson
Hooded Man - Alan Duncan (Nov 03) / David Berryman (Aug 04)
Women - Dee Dillistone, Emma Dinoulis, Jane Fisher, Debbie Killoran

Press Conference
Minister - Trevor Oakes
Terry - Mark Baker (Nov 03) / Adam Nichols (Aug 04)
Journalists - Emma Dinoulis, Jane Fisher, Alan Duncan (Nov 03) / Sara Davis (Aug 04)

Party Time
Terry - Mark Baker (Nov 03) / Adam Nichols (Aug 04)
Gavin - David Berryman
Dusty - Emma Dinoulis
Melissa - Sue Dyson
Liz - Dee Dillistone
Charlotte - Debbie Killoran
Fred - David Widdowson
Douglas - Peter Wood
Nicolas - Trevor Oakes
Guest - Jane Fisher
Waiter - Court Harding (Nov 03) / Sara Davis (Aug 04)
Jimmy - Alan Duncan

Creative Team

Director – Adam Nichols
Director (Mountain Language) – Imogen de la Bere
Director (The New World Order) – Simon Nicholas
Assistant Director (Nov 03) – Laura Harding
Associate Directors (Aug 04) - Alan Duncan, Laura Harding
Designer / Technical Director – David Wm Palmer
Assistant Technical Director (Nov 03) - Mac
Stage Manager – Sara Davis
Assistant Stage Manager (Nov 03) – Mark Summers
Lighting Designer (Nov 03) – Phil Hamilton
Film Production – Simon Nicholas
Film Production Assistant – Sara Davis
Jazz Improvisation – Tony Wigram
Costume Co-ordinator – Alison Belding
Publicity Design – Ian Nichols
Publicity Co-ordinator (Nov 03) – Maureen Adams
Programme Design – Adam Nichols
Photography – Simon Nicholas, Adam Nichols
Box Office Co-ordinator (Nov 03) – Jane Fisher
Front of House Co-ordinator (Nov 03) – Alison Begley
Front of House Team (Nov 03) - Rona Cracknell, Judy Curd, Laura Harding, Helen Huson, Ashley Nicholas, Fred Nicholas, Richard Smith, Rob Thomas, Jackie Tomes