16th May, 2022 / 18:00 -
25th November, 2015
by Terence Rattigan
Director – Auriol Smith
Set and Costume – Sam Dowson
Venue – Embassy Theatre
Performed by – BA (Hons) Acting students
Production by – BA (Hons) Theatre Practice students
At its premiere in 1952 Kenneth Tynan described Terrence Rattigan’s play as ‘a searing study of the destructive zeal of love’. Much later Michael Billington would praise Mr Rattigan for his ‘dramatisation of dark moments of bleak compassion and aching desire’. Both comments still hold good today.
From its first dramatic moments the play invites us to unravel and explore the extent to which the human heart can propel us towards extreme actions and cruel compromises.
Hester is a cultured and unusually liberated woman for her time; a woman of deep feelings and unfulfilled desires. Her frigid husband is unable to offer her gratification in any form. Freddie, an ex-RAF pilot, whose finest hour was in the 1940s, has looks and passion, but he is also beset by his own sense of emptiness and disillusion.
Within this triangle, as the plot develops, we encounter love in all its manifestations, including perhaps homosexual love.
A post war bomb-scarred London provides the back drop for the story and the confines of one room in a shabby bedsit over a period of twenty four hours force us to examine in close up the drama that ensues. It is part thriller, part romance and part tragedy, but it is the emotional thread that drives the play.