Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Dumb Waiter” as Want to Read:
The Dumb Waiter
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Dumb Waiter

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,788 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
One of his most recognized and acclaimed plays, Harold Pinter’s “The Dumb Waiter” is a humorous and provocative story of two hit men as they wait in a basement for their next assignment. Told through Pinter’s unmistakable wit and poignant pauses, “The Dumb Waiter” is recognized for its exceptional writing and subtle character development.
Paperback, 64 pages
Published May 5th 1998 by Ellipses Marketing (first published 1957)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Dumb Waiter, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Dumb Waiter

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,819)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 29, 2015 notgettingenough rated it it was amazing
Shelves: modern-lit, drama
Melbourne Comedy Festival 2005

Two men perform The Dumb Waiter. In the background you can hear the noise of at least two other shows coming through. I write to complain and receive a reply along the lines of 'You are lucky we didn't charge you for the other shows too.'

I can't say that I entirely understand the idea of reading a play any more than, say, reading a music score. Or reading a painting? The play is not a complete thing until it has voice and setting and atmosphere. Atmosphere is comple
Jun 14, 2010 James rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite plays and playwrights. The Dumb Waiter was performed by me (as Ben) and my friend (as Gus) as part of our GCSE finals and was possibly the one play that influenced me to take theatrical studies as an A-level. If it allowed me such an expanse of charm as Pinter's work I couldn't resist.

As for the play itself it is a masterpiece of drama infused with light hearted comedy (for anyone that's seen this at the Westend with Lee Evans and Jason Isaacs you'll understand).

The character
Feb 01, 2009 Jamie rated it liked it
Shelves: undergrad
I don't know quite what to say about this play--it was my first Pinter experience, and I'd be interested to read more. But I'd say that I got a lot more through discussing the play in class than in the actual reading of it; which doesn't necessarily discount it, but I'm hesitant to say I loved it, when really I loved the issues that arose peripherally, as my class was perplexed as to what to bring up from within the text. Issues like: where do we search for meaning, particularly in our reading o ...more
Геллее Авбакар
Dec 04, 2012 Геллее Авбакар rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theater
This piece of Absurd Theater was an Integral piece in the Curriculum of the University, It was under the Subject of the Theater of Absurd, I own a Paperback of it with the Features above.

My Plot:
The Dumb Waiter is again one of the master piece of Harold Pinter the leading dramatist of the Theater of Absurd, The Play was all about a Two Hit Men, Ben and Gus, Ben is the Senior of the Gang and Gus is a Beginner to the Gang team, They were Hired to Kill someone, the One Act play goes in
Apr 13, 2016 Nahia rated it it was ok
2'5 en realidad. Y siendo buena.

Una lectura más para la universidad y, sinceramente, si no fuera obligatorio ni siquiera se me habría ocurrido leer esto. Creo que no le pillo el punto al teatro del absurdo y no me he enterado de nada en más de una ocasión.
Taylor Moore
Apr 28, 2011 Taylor Moore rated it it was ok
I've always sort of enjoyed absurdist drama, it's so damn funny to read the character's interactions. I didn't, however, particularly enjoy reading this play, but that's mostly due to human error. Reading absurdist plays, you have to imagine what's going on and read between the lines, and sometimes it's just better to watch the play because you can see the characters right in front of you. I'll change my review on this play later, but it is a annoying reminder of why I dislike reading plays.
Anthony D'Juan Shelton
Feb 21, 2008 Anthony D'Juan Shelton rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: playwrights and writers
Recommended to Anthony by: Richard Broadhurst
i bought this play as a birthday present to myself, in 1998, when i turned twenty-two (the year my oldest son was born). it was suggest to me by a writer friend of mine who told me:

"You would like Harold Pinter."

in 2002 i directed and acted in the play with my friend Galen Howard.
Jan 30, 2013 Julia rated it liked it
This play reminded me a lot of Samuel Beckett. However, I think that Beckett executes the Theatre of the Absurd slightly better than Pinter. In "Endgame" I really felt the despair and helplessness of the characters, while in "The Dumb Waiter", I felt less attachment to the characters.
May 09, 2016 Skip rated it liked it
Some plays are more easily read than others; some need a stage to best come alive. I think The Dumb Waiter falls into the latter category. It's just a little flat on the page, without oxygen, without sufficient movement. Pinter's words gain not only form but a proper functionality when the work is acted out -- I won't say fluidity because I think there's a purposeful anxiousness and awkwardness to The Dumb Waiter in particular. The nuances are best understood on stage. I've been fortunate enough ...more
Ana Ruiz
May 08, 2014 Ana Ruiz rated it really liked it
Maybe the reason that I enjoyed The Dumb Waiter so much was that I REALLY didn't enjoy The Caretaker. My dislike for the latter was probably due to a saturation of absurd literature in my life, but whatever. I just didn't like it.

Thankfully, I got a funny, interesting, suspense-full, play, with a Tarantino feel but essentially Pinter-esque in The Dumb Waiter. Enjoyed it.

Why Gus has to be killed? Cause he is curious and asks a lot!

هارولد پینتر با اولین نمایش نامه اش "اتاق" به مکتب "تیاتر بیهودگی" پیوست، و به سرعت کنار نام آوران این نوع تیاتر قرار گرفت. از "ناکجا آباد" (1974) به بعد، "یکی برای جاده"(1984)، "کوه زبان" (1988)، "نظم نوین جهانی"(1991) و ... خمیرمایه ی سیاسی آثارش جلوه ی بیشتری یافت، و مواضعش در مورد قشار جهان آزاد بر کوبا و نیکاراگوا، و بالاخره علیه آمریکا و انگلیس و جنگ عراق، خشمگینانه تر و تهاجمی تر شد. پینتر با اقتباس برخی نوشته هایش، تعدادی فیلم
May 26, 2014 A.U.C. rated it really liked it
I thought, after reading The Caretaker that I would never touch a Pinter again. That, nor any other Absurd literature. Maybe the reason that I liked this was exactly because it wasn't Absurd (had a plot, etctetera), although it certainly kept some of the elements. In short, enjoyable, recommendable, and well done. Yay for Pinter.
Feb 25, 2016 Chloe rated it liked it
This is an interesting play from the theatre of the absurd. After reading waiting for Godot, i had absolutely no intention in continuing reading in this interesting wave of literature. It wasn't as bad as i anticipated it, i liked the little twist and the end and the play on words with the tittle
Mar 01, 2016 Trista rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
It's beyond me that this is the play that used to introduce (college student) people to Pinter. I like it better now that I'm older. I was unresponsive when I first read it at 19.
Even now I think I prefer it as a piece in Pinter's body of work rather than a stand alone script.
Paresh Desai
Feb 16, 2015 Paresh Desai rated it really liked it
I will never eat at restaurant and not think about this book. I have worked in retail long time ago. And I can relate.

The author has great potential as a write. I hope he writes outside of his comfort.

I recommend this book. Restaurant workers are hard workers. They work long hours. They get no respect. Be nice the next time you dine out.
Arwa M
May 10, 2014 Arwa M rated it it was ok
I can absolutely relate to what Pinter's trying to say. I couldn't help it but to feel smothered while reading the play. It was quite an enlightening experience.
Umberto Brunetti
Jul 05, 2016 Umberto Brunetti rated it really liked it
I wouldn't be surprised if Quentin Tarantino was inspired by Harold Pinter in the making of his movies. This really gave me the same vibe, loved it!
Ala'a  Muhammad
Sep 05, 2014 Ala'a Muhammad rated it really liked it
I would love to attend a live performance of this drama. The Theater of Cruelty has a special place in my heart just like the Kabuki. Brilliant play!
Dec 06, 2014 Marinette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, reread
After many rereads still one of my favourite Pinter plays.
Rizki N. Amaliah
Apr 29, 2015 Rizki N. Amaliah rated it really liked it
never thought i'd love this one
Feb 04, 2016 Ellen added it
Reminded me of Pulp Fiction.
Jan 21, 2016 Itisme added it
read in 2004
Billy O'Callaghan
Dec 22, 2015 Billy O'Callaghan rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays, nobel-prize
review to follow...
Xander Duffy
May 30, 2012 Xander Duffy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: misc
Kind of boring, almost pointless but was made brilliant by the fact that my wife and her brother enacting the scene of the two hit men. Hilarious, although, admittedly, this review offers no information to the play itself. Read it, it will take but an hour, you will probably enjoy it, or better yet read it with friends enacting the characters over a bottle of Cairn O' Moirh elderberry wine. Great Night.
Kristin Polseno
Oct 08, 2008 Kristin Polseno rated it liked it
I taught this as an intro to theater/Shakespeare unit for my juniors a few years ago. They all loved it....the conclusion leaves you with LOTS to discuss and debate. It's very short and you can act it out in class. I wouldn't say it's one of my favorite books but it ended up being one of my favorite units that year.
May 16, 2012 Rayne rated it liked it
Shelves: for-lit-class

This was my first experience with the Theater of the Absurd, and I must say, I actually enjoyed it. This one was clever and funny and I really liked the ending, but it dragged on with silly things, as it is to be expected from this movement, but that was something I did not enjoy.
Nov 24, 2015 Samurdhi rated it liked it
Felt like reading Waiting for Godot. Not as Absurd as Waiting for Godot but has some elements of an Absurd Play. The Dumb Waiter is quite symbolic. From the dumb waiter to the lack of flushing in the lavatory the play creates suspense in the reader at every turn.
Nicolas Brannon
May 28, 2008 Nicolas Brannon rated it liked it
This is the Pinter play that was chosen for the Norton Anthology. It's an early work and it's only one act, but it's very enjoyable. VERY reminiscent of Beckett, but very clever and original in it's own right. It's probably better seen than read.
Apr 19, 2009 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this for an upcoming dinner theatre show maidenagoya is doing in May. I was recently saddened by the news of Pinter's death last December. However, it's a good read & a damn good show.
Feb 27, 2008 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This reminds me, in retrospect, of The New York Triliogy by Paul Auster. The dialogue is snappy and full of wit, and the concept of the play kept me amused.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 93 94 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Real Inspector Hound
  • Krapp's Last Tape & Embers
  • The Chairs
  • The Complete Plays
  • The Maids & Deathwatch
  • Sexual Perversity in Chicago & The Duck Variations
  • The Theatre of the Absurd
  • The Designated Mourner
  • Curse of the Starving Class
  • Saved
  • A Number
  • Waiting for Lefty and Other Plays
  • Look Back in Anger
  • The Father
Harold Pinter, CH, CBE, was an English playwright, screenwriter, actor, director, political activist and poet. He was one of the most influential playwrights of modern times. In 2005 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

After publishing poetry and acting in school plays as a teenager in London, Pinter began his professional theatrical career in 1951, touring throughout Ireland. From 1952,
More about Harold Pinter...

Share This Book