8 May 2018

The Winslow Boy at Richmond Theatre

I could not remember having seen The Winslow Boy before but I was pretty sure that I had seen some version of it some where at some time. More importantly I knew of it and of Terence Rattigan and that was enough to convince me to go and see it at Richmond Theatre.

I went for a seat in my usual area Dress Circle Row A Seat 19 which was a shockingly low £24 thanks to my ATG Theatre Card.

One of the things that Richmond Theatre does is act like a regional theatre, it is just about far enough from the West End to do that, showing touring productions. These are almost without exception good, because the people who tour productions know what they are doing. The plays are solid, the actors first rate and the production (set, lighting, music, etc.) professional and slick. I went to see The Winslow Boy with just those expectations.

I expected good but got better.

It was better for all the reasons that I expected it to be good. The play engaged on several levels, the production was spot on and the acting was exceptional.

Aden Gillett and Tessa Peake-Jones got the main billing because of their relative fame and they were good but the two that stood out for me were Timothy Watson and the barrister Sir Robert Morton and Dorothea Myer-Bennett as the campaigning Catherine Winslow.

I was doubly impressed by Timothy Watson as I had hated him for several years in his most famous character Rob Titchener in The Archers.

I had forgotten the story, if I ever knew it, so that was a surprise. What was more surprising were all the other things going on some of which directly resulted from the case, such as the brother having to go out to work and earn money, and others which had nothing to do with it, such as the sister's campaigning work for women's rights. At the centre of all this was Mr Winslow who made all the decision with careful and purposeful deliberation and his wife who supported him all the way. This was a family living through a crisis but not being bowed by it.

The Winslow Boy was a perfect example of decent theatre done very well to make something a little special.

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