Last night just under 100 Whatsonstage.com theatregoers headed to the Harold Pinter Theatre for the transfer of the 2011 sell-out Chichester success South Downs & The Browning Version which is now in the West End for a 12 week run.

A double bill, South Downs is presented first, a specially commissioned companion piece written by David Hare in response to Terence Rattigan's The Browning Version. Both examine life in boarding public school and Anna Chancellor and Nicholas Farrell lead the cast in both pieces. Rattigan's Harrow School and Hare's Lancing College provide the backdrop for these moving stories, Hare's told through the eyes of a boy and Rattigan's through the eyes of a master. Both revolve around unexpected acts of kindness which place the harsh and at times cruel worlds of these schools into stark contrast.

Following the production we were joined by writer David Hare and Jeremy Herrin who directed Hare's play and Angus Jackson who directed The Browning Version. Herrin and Jackson talked about working together but separately and the difficulties in casting not least when the actors will have to cross over two pieces. They hinted that they might like to work together again but wouldn't give away anymore on that! Hare admitted that as he gets older his school days come back to him more and so writing this piece wasn't as challenging as some other pieces. In fact he says that the play practically wrote itself, a once in every 25 years event for writers, with flashes of dialogue coming to him in the night. He also spoke about his early years as a writer at the Royal Court and Rattigan's own reactions to the new writing powerhouse. Interesting indeed!

As always, please feel free to email your comments and thoughts about the play, as well as any of your favourite insights from last night to feedback@whatsonstage.com. We would love to hear from you. And don't miss out on our live twitter story from last night - with up to the minute tweets about the Q&A as it happened!

Laura Norman
Club Manager