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Mortimer Dramatic Society - The Deep Blue Sea

22nd, 23rd, 29th and 30th October 2004.

This was the NWN review.

Another World

Mortimer Dramatic Society: The Deep Blue Sea, on Friday, October22, Saturday, October 23, Firday, October 29 and Saturday, October 30

In England, attempted suicide was a crime until 1961. Terence Rattigan’s play, set in 1952, opens with Hester Collyer lying on the floor of her flat having unsuccessfully tried to kill herself. Her marriage to high court judge William Collyer had failed, and her subsequent passionate fling with former RAF pilot Freddie Page was not working out. The final strands of this relationship are severed by her action, and Freddie, increasingly dependant on alcohol, leaves her. Befriended by the enigmatic Mr Miller, Hester is helped to come to terms with the situation.

Carol Burbedge, as Hester, gave the role a sort of resigned sadness. Although out of control of her destiny, you could see the strength of character underneath. Andrew Pitcher was a caddish Freddie, without much charm, and the opposite of her husband. His cut-glass accent was too strong, often making it difficult to understand what he was saying.

Mari Fleming, as the nosey housekeeper/landlady who can’t keep a secret, brought some humour to the play. Graham Jerome was perfect as the urbane Collyer who wants his wife back, and the scenes with him and Hester came across particularly well as she tried to resist his efforts to get her to return to her former life.

Ross Williams was very convincing as the diffident Philip Welch and as Page’s friend Jackson, and Sarah Clark was good as the mousy Ann Welch. Tom Shorrock, as the struck-off doctor with the missing bedside manner, gave an excellent performance, especially at the end when he is Hester’s salvation.

The set, designed by Jane and Andrew Hodgson, was very impressive, with good attention to the period detail (apart from the plastic top to the Marmite jar!), including the plumbed gas fittings and the mark on the wallpaper when the picture was removed.

When Rattigan wrote the play, the subjects of divorce and suicide were much more controversial than they are today, and Megan Bush’s classy production gave an interesting insight into the world of half a century ago.