The Deep Blue Sea - National Theatre - and National Opens New Season

From the National Gallery it was straight over the bridge to southbank and the National Theatre to see Rattigan's 'The Deep Blue Sea', . The lead is played by the inimitable Helen McCrory, whom I saw in Medea, which, like this play, was also directed by Carrie Cracknell.

The play is set in a flat in Ladbroke Grove in the 1950s. Hester Collyer, an artist, lives with Freddie Page, ex-RAF and now an unemployed test pilot. But she remains married to Judge Collyer, which becomes apparent when Hester's flat has to be broken into when she turns the gas on and attempts to kill herself. And so the story of Freddie and Hester unravels, all whilst her husband the Judge makes clear he wants his wife back. I enjoyed the performances, which were polished and emotive - McCrory clearly ringing herself of the torture the character is in, not helped by the fact that her work is clearly not selling, and Freddie is on the golf course trying to network himself into a desperately needed new job. The thing is, it didn't evoke very much in the way of passion, for me. It is claimed that the role of Hester Collyer is one of the strongest female roles in contemporary theatre. If that is the case, then theatre is in a terrible state - which I know it most definitely is not.

The National opened ticket sales for its autumn/winter season yesterday morning and I quickly snapped up tickets for 'Amadeus', David Hare's new play 'The Red Barn', and O'Casey's 'The Plough and the Stars'. So much to look forward to - but still room for finding all those little gems of plays that are on at so many places - from old cinemas to pubs to parks.

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