The Winslow Boy, Southwold

For so long one of our most respected playwrights, Terence Rattigan has been neglected for many years, but is once again becoming recognised for the master he is, and there is no finer example of his ability to produce a superbly crafted play than The Winslow Boy.

By FRANK CLIFF

For so long one of our most respected playwrights, Terence Rattigan has been neglected for many years, but is once again becoming recognised for the master he is, and there is no finer example of his ability to produce a superbly crafted play than The Winslow Boy which opened at Southwold on Monday.

Based on a case of 1910, the play deals with the Winslow family's attempt to clear the name of their youngest son, Ronnie, a naval cadet (the excellent Darren Cheek) sacked from college for the alleged theft of a five shilling postal order. The long legal battle has profound consequences for the whole family, yet nothing will persuade the retired banker father from his pursuit of what he believes to be right.

Christopher Dunham's direction evokes a wonderful sense of period and encourages vivid portrayals of Rattigan's usual protagonists, the middle classes, from an excellent cast, among whom Peter Laird's humorous and moving performance as the father, Arthur Winslow, Celia White as his daughter, Catherine, and Julian Harris as the barrister, Sir Robert Morton are outstanding.

Nor does the sentiment ever become mawkish: Mary Ann Turner, as Violet the servant, delivers the verdict beautifully.

One of this talented company's finest productions and not to be missed.

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