Author: Terence Rattigan
Director: John Marwick
Production Manager: Sam Perry
Season: 9 September - 19 September 2015
The play was first produced in London in June 1939. Critics praised Rattigan for his subtle and insightful portrayal of characters in their thirties trying to cling to the gaiety of their youth in the Twenties – when actually in 1939 the world was inexorably slipping towards a second World War. By August the play closed probably because the increasingly gloomy political situation was not something that audience wanted to be reminded about. It remained largely forgotten for over fifty years until revivals first in a 1992 BBC production and then in 2010 at Britain’s National Theatre with Benedict Cumberbatch as David – a production that won four Olivier awards. The Daily Telegraph critic wrote “One leaves the theatre convinced a neglected classic has finally been honoured.”
David and Joan Scott-Fowler were 'bright young things' of the 1920s, whose ambition is to treat everything as trivia and to live lives of pure sensation. They always maintained that they married for amusement and not for love. However, Helen Banner, a serious young woman, has fallen in love with David and is determined to change his lifestyle, free him from Joan, stop him from drinking and re-awaken the serious historian in him. Unfortunately, Joan does indeed love David very deeply and is trapped by her posture of carelessness. The play’s climax comes at the end of the second act and the third act shows with an extraordinary lightness of touch how difficult it is for people to escape their destiny.
Last updated 22 September 2015