When you're caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, the deep blue sea can sometimes look very inviting, according to Hester Collyer (Scacchi). Foundering in the closing stages of a hopeless love affair, Hester, the daughter of a clergyman and wife of a judge, has abandoned her steady husband and life of affluence for a blind passion. But Freddie Page, a handsome but thoughtless ex-RAF fighter pilot, is out of his depth in their relationship, overwhelmed by the strength of a love he is incapable of reciprocating.
Written in 1952 after the success of The Browning Version and The Winslow Boy, The Deep Blue Sea is based on Rattigan's turbulent relationship with a young actor who left him for another lover and subsequently committed suicide.
Scacchi was last seen in the West End in the revival of Ferenc Molnar's The Guardsman. Her other theatre credits include The True Life Fiction of Mata Hari, Uncle Vanya, In Times Like These, Airbase and Easy Virtue. The actress is best known for her roles in films such as Presumed Innocent, White Mischief, Heat and Dust, Shattered, Jefferson in Paris and Emma. In 1996 she won an Emmy for the TV film Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny.
Scacchi is joined in the Rattigan cast by Simon Williams as her husband and, as her younger lover, Dugald Bruce-Lockhart, a member of Edward Hall’s all-male Shakespeare company Propeller, which won this year’s Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Ensemble Performance for The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night at the Old Vic.
The Deep Blue Sea is designed by Francis O’Connor, with lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by Matt McKenzie. It’s presented by Theatre Royal Bath Productions. Currently at the Vaudeville, another Bath production, Peter Gill’s revival of Oscar Wilde’s 1895 comedy The Importance of Being Earnest, starring Penelope Keith as Lady Bracknell, finishes its season on 28 April (See Review Round-up, 1 Feb 2008).
- by Terri Paddock