The highlight of the evening is Timothy West as Arthur Winslow. He brings a delicious dry wit to the role, and while never jeopardizing the piece’s overall seriousness, ensures that even the most sombre of scenes does not lapse into melancholy. Claire Cox captures the audience’s sympathies as Winslow’s feisty yet vulnerable suffragette daughter Catherine, who finds herself facing some of the hardest decisions in the play, and Adrian Lukis is a splendidly supercilious Sir Robert Morton, the lawyer who finally succeeds in bringing the case to court. There are also some fine performances among the supporting cast: Roger May is touching as solicitor and family friend Desmond Curry, and the emotional tension is heightened by John Sackville as Catherine's fiance John Watherstone. While I must admit that Hugh Wyld as the eponymous Ronnie Winslow didn’t entirely convince me he was thirteen, he was charming as the emerging young man-about-town of the later acts.
This is a thoroughly engaging piece of theatre: exciting at times, moving to the point of being heart-wrenching at others, but rarely without humour. Stephen Unwin's sensitive direction brings out the nuances of the work, and enhanced by impeccable costumes and a lavish set, this adds up to a highly polished production of a finely crafted play.
- Meriel Patrick