|Booking From:||Friday, 4th March 2011|
|Booking Until:||Saturday, 11th June 2011|
|Matinees:||Wednesday and Saturday 2.30pm|
|Evenings:||Monday to Saturday 7.30pm|
Trevor Nunn’s spellbinding production of one of Terence Rattigan’s rarely performed plays, FLARE PATH, proves to be a more than worthy participant in the celebrations to mark Rattigan’s centenary year. There is little doubt that this impeccable production will further reinforce his current appeal. Writing from the mid-thirties through until the mid-seventies, Terence Rattigan was rightly considered to be one of Britain's most popular playwrights. His many box office successes include SEPARATE TABLES, THE WINSLOW BOY and THE BROWNING VERSION.
Set in the Falcon Hotel on the edge of a Bomber Command RAF airbase in Lincolnshire in 1941, FLARE PATH, an intensely moving and, in turn, sometimes deeply comic play, has as one of its central themes the love triangle between three of its protagonists. In a remarkable performance, Sienna Miller plays Patricia Warren, a young actress, torn between her young husband and a past lover. Harry Hadden-Paton is intensely moving as her seemingly high-spirited husband, Flight Lieutenant Teddy Graham. While James Purefoy gives a captivating performance as the English heart-throb Hollywood film star, Peter Kyle, now past his prime and desperate to rekindle his relationship with the far from reluctant Patricia.
Comedy, tempered with repressed sadness, is beautifully delivered by the Olivier Award-winning actress, Sheridan Smith (who recently won theatregoers' hearts with her outstanding performance in LEGALLY BLONDE) as Doris, and by Sarah Crowden as Mrs Oakes, the cheerless hotel’s no-nonsense owner and her young son, Percy (Matthew Tennyson). The Falcon’s mixed bag of residents from Bomber Command also include Flying Officer Count Skriczevinsky "Johnny", Doris's husband, who is struggling rather unsuccessfully to master the English language and communicate with his new wife (an hilarious and touching performance by Mark Dexter), Sergeant “Dusty” Miller (Joe Armstrong) a tail gunner (the position held by Rattigan himself during the Second World War) who is joined by his recalcitrant wife, Maudie (Emma Handy), and Squadron Leader Swanson (Clive Wood), irreverently addressed by the lower ranked Teddy as “Gloria”.
During Act One, which ends in a stunning visual coup, Rattigan skilfully introduces the audience to his characters and sets the scene for some unexpected revelations. As Patricia plans to leave Teddy and return to Hollywood with Peter, and the other two couples each prepare for a rare evening together, an unexpected mission throws everyone's lives into disarray.
The rapt audience rightly gave this deeply moving, magnificently acted ensemble piece a rousing curtain call. FLARE PATH runs at the Theatre Royal Haymarket for a limited period only until 4 June. Don't miss it.
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