Terence Rattigan, the great playwright who I always thought was underrated, is back in full throttle. His plays are having an amazing revival throughout Britain with the Royal National Theatre’s production of The Deep Blue Sea starting June 1 and running until August 17 and a production of Ross to run from 3 to 25 June at the Festival Theatre in Chichester. Soon after this, the Theatre Royal in Bath will show a production of While the Sun Shines from 13 July to 30 July, while French Without Tears will be performed at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond from 30 June to 30 July. After that it will be on tour as follows:
13 – 24 September, Northcott Theatre, Exeter
27 September – 1 October, Harrogate Theatre
4 – 6 October, Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple
11 – 15 October, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
18 – 22 October, Cast Theatre, Doncaster
25 – 29 October, Coliseum, Oldham
1 – 5 November, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry
8 – 12 November, Lighthouse Theatre, Poole
16 – 19 November, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield
A revised and updated edition of Terence Rattigan: The Man and His Work by Michael Darlow, published by Quartet Books in 2010, is without doubt the definitive study of the great man, released to celebrate the centenary of Rattigan’s birth. It continues to receive great acclaim from the critics.
Terence Rattigan had, in the words of Harold Hobson, ‘the greatest natural talent for the stage of any man this century.’
He was the most financially successful dramatist of his generation and despite attempts to declare his work unfashionable his plays continue to be performed both on the West End stage and in the cinema.
In his lifetime he was a well-known public figure, yet despite his friendships with people such as Noel Coward he always publicly hid his homosexuality. Michael Darlow has been able to describe this important aspect of his life and fully consider it in relation to his work. Plays such as French Without Tears, The Browning Version, Separate Tables and The Winslow Boy are some of the best loved and most memorable plays of the century. Yet even in his lifetime Rattigan was regarded as somehow artistically suspect. This portrait of a complex and fascinating man unfolds to provide a compelling case for Rattigan to be accepted as one of the great dramatists of the last century.
With the latest revival of his work, theatre lovers should not miss the opportunity to order a copy of Darlow’s remarkable book while it is still available.