Review: The Winslow Boy, by Terence Rattigan at the Old Vic Theatre

Charlie Rowe as Ronnie Winslow. Photo Nobby Clark.

Charlie Rowe as Ronnie Winslow. Photo Nobby Clark.

What do Terence Rattigan and Mike Bartlett have in common? Making the town of Reading the butt of their jokes apparently. I shouldn’t start my review in such a facetious way, as this fine production of a near perfect play deserves better, but I can’t help it.

But let’s get back to the business at hand: Terence Rattigan’s play, about a small case fought with absolute conviction that justice can’t be measured in a balance sheet, feels fresh, unexpected and rich in every way. With its big themes, small distilled moments and perfectly observed relationships, it is a dream for any director and cast. And Lindsay Posner and his actors grab the opportunity and do it justice.

What I found irresistible is the play’s ability to surprise: Continue reading

The Hamlet Challenge Entry No 2: Copenhagen at Sheffield theatres

Before going to Sheffied this past Thursday, I knew very little about Michael Frayn’s play Copenhagen. Something about nuclear physics and the bomb. I quite like not knowing anything about a play, all part of discovering everything in the moment.

Geoffrey Streatfeild as Heisenberg in Copenhagen Photo by Manuel Harlan

In the end, Copenhagen proved a superb play in a superb production. The play itself reminded me of Arcadia, with its visceral approach of ideas, science, morality & mortality. I think that Arcadia might be the best play ever written, so anything that comes close is a masterpiece.

You can call the production challenging, but that might miss the point. It was challenging, both because it presents something important and profound, but also because of the challenge of hanging on in a fabulous emotional and intellectual ride. Like skiing down a slope, a motif of the play itself. Continue reading