Deep Blue Sea, Review
Not so much a kitchen sink drama rather a living room theatrical in dreary depressed post war London where Hester Collier’s attempted suicide unleashes emotions in her and in the people in her life.
Andrew Fletcher’s production of Terence Rattigan’ 1952 play, The Deep Blue Sea, in Bath’s Rondo Theatre is a worthy examination of adult relationships in the 1950s middle classes, cutting through to the underlying angsts of the era.
There’s post traumatic stress, a lack of direction in lives once driven by the excitement of war and of relationships stifled by social convention, an undercurrent of repressed sexuality, let alone that suicide was still illegal. And it’s the unresolved problems in Hester’s life that lie at the heart of the play – issues that are universal and current in society today.
Artist Hester’s conflicted feelings about her lover it’s-all-about-me Freddie Page who hasn’t moved on from his Spitfire glory days of 1940 clashes with her relationship with her estranged stuffed-shirt of a husband William Collyer and latterly with her neighbour Mr Miller.
Tom Turner as Freddie enjoyed sexual chemistry with Hester (Maria Finlay) in an opening elongated snog as the two mismatched lovers spar. She: a woman in need of sexual love and he in need of an intelligent and attractive older woman who fills in the gaps in his now empty ex-RAF life.
The duo Ann and Philip Welch who discover the unconscious Hester in front of her gas fire, were played by an animated Robert Finlay and Sophie Kerr, with an excellent portrayal of landlady Mrs Elton played by Nadine Comba in support. The enigmatic Mr Miller, the non-doctor doctor with a Germanic secret from the war to hide whose empathetic feelings chime with Hester was given a slightly mysterious persona by Rob Dawson while Richard Chivers was strong support as Jackie as he tried not to knock back too much of the whisky in his unsuccessful attempts to calm down Freddie.
The Rondo’s Theatre Company had strong support from the production team with Tony Wood’s impressive set featuring Hester’s flat making the most of the space while lighting by Rob Finlay and Will Jesmond gave the appropriately gloomy atmosphere of the stifling nature of the drama. A drama where repressed British emotions finally are allowed to spill out.
The play runs to Saturday 27th November 2021
Please note: that due to a member of the audience taking ill about half-way through the play the drama was abandoned although tickets can be reassigned to later in the run. The theatre’s staff acted with professionalism during the extremely distressing emergency. This review thus covers only the first hour of the show. Tickets can be reallocated for the must-see production.
Tickets and more information visit https://rondotheatre.co.uk/
Harry Mottram is the news editor of Bath Voice monthly magazine covers news, views, reviews, previews and features as well as what’s on in Bath and events for residents in Bear Flat, Widcombe and Oldfield Park and the wider Bath area. Delivered door to door in south Bath and available in shops and supermarkets. See the Facebook site for details.
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