Lowther Pavilion, Lytham Until Saturday
Terence Rattigan’s exploration on the theme of loneliness and judgement must have been a revelation and perhaps a shock to the buttoned-up thinking of 1954.
In the very capable hands of the cast of the Fylde Coast Players it gripped the attention of the audience from the outset.
The words which the characters use to express previously unspoken emotions are expertly handled by Andy Cooke, newcomer Poppy Flanagan and Rosie Withers in the first half, supplemented by subtle but telling gestures and posture.
Rosemary Roe, as the ultra-respectable Lady Matheson, and Louise Davies, as her ultra-repressed daughter, both shine and there is touching acting from David Parry as the disgraced Major Pollock. Teresa Mallabone, Joyce Burgess, Jeff Redfern, Kieran O’Doherty and Emily Cartmell all seize their moments and ironic humour comes from Gill Newby as the waitress Doreen.
Director Jeff Redfern, aided by a clever set, keeps up the pace of some first-class dialogue. Rattigan cannot quite pull off the Ayckbourn-like mirroring of earlier scenes and situations, but his characterisation is admirable and the surprise ending sees him challenging the authoritarian black and white view of what is normal. Sixty years on the Fylde Coast Players excel.