HAROLD Pinter will be in the spotlight when Old Bomb Theatre Company performs several of his short works alongside new writing inspired by “the most influential playwright of his generation”.

Paul Osborne, whose play The Bluest Blue was performed by the York company earlier this year, is one of the show’s directors. “This is a collaboration in its fullest sense – five writers, four directors and an ensemble cast of ten actors performing nine short plays,” he says.

“The catalyst for the project was a rehearsed reading last October. We asked the writers to capture the essence of Pinter’s writing but to speak with their own voice and avoid imitation or pastiche. One month later, we sifted through more than 30 entries to choose five plays, each with a hint of humour, menace, power or poetry.”

For the first half, the company has selected Pinter plays that reflect the range of the late playwright’s work: a terrifying interrogation in One For The Road (directed by Cecily Boyes); a darkly comic tale of a strange encounter between a radio controller and a taciturn cabbie in Victoria Station (Osborne’s show); a couple’s poetic rediscovery of their relationship in Night (Morag Galloway’s contribution); and a comic sketch set in a Sixties’ London café, The Black And White (helmed by David Martin).

“From the outset we wanted to take a collaborative approach with this production and encourage a wide range of creative input,” says Paul.

“By choosing to perform shorter plays, we can create more acting and directing opportunities and try to capture the extent of Pinter’s extraordinary talent.”

A concealed violence in the dialogue unites the works. “It’s chilling but what’s so clever in his writing is there is this sense of menace that is never seen and happens off stage, so it’s inferred but disturbing,” says Paul.

“But we also wanted to reflect the humorous side of Pinter, so I’m directing Victoria Station, which probably echoes his Comedies of Menace to an extent in that it’s a comedy about two characters who are almost lost in time and space.

“The whole conversation between the radio controller and the taxi driver is conducted over the airwaves and you might think it’s a piece for radio, but it has this stillness about it on stage, and though they’re close to each other on the stage, they’re poles apart.”

In a separate show that forms the second part of the evening, Old Bomb presents five Pinter-inspired works: Hannah Davies’s Fond Love; Alan Ram’s A Good Pair Of Lungs; university student Jon Bumstead’s The Undertaker and Goldfinch; and Helen Cadbury’s The One That Got Away.

Each writer has written a short blog about what sparked their plays on the theatre website, yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

• Pinteresque runs in The Studio, York Theatre Royal, from February 16 to 18 and February 22 to 26, at 7.45pm plus a 2pm matinee on the last day. Box office: 01904 623568. Suitable for ages 14 plus; running time of two hours.