The Winslow Boy*** (Old Vic, 19 April 2013)

Posted: April 19, 2013 in Theatre

Terence Rattigan’s most famous play, dealing with a family’s fight for justice whatever the personal cost, still comes across as beautifully crafted and rich with human emotion. However, at just under three hours, with four acts and numerous sub-plots, it also looks rather old-fashioned. Henry Goodman gives a towering performance as Winslow senior, but Peter Sullivan is rather disappointing as the Barrister, lacking a natural aura of authority; beyond that the acting is excellent, whilst the sumptuous set and costumes reflect the era, exactly a century ago. However, when a great play is staged by a major theatre, expectations are rightly high and this production meets those expectations but never exceeds them. Essentially, this is a routine, straightforward revival which makes no attempts to modernise or to inject topicality and much needed pace. It is a production that could easily have played at the Old Vic 50 years ago.

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