Foundering in the closing stages of a hopeless 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 feeling he’s 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. This Theatre Royal Bath production is directed by Edward Hall and designed by Francis O'Connor, with lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by Matt McKenzie.
Scacchi is joined in the The Deep Blue Sea by Simon Williams as her husband, Dugald Bruce-Lockhart as her young lover Freddie Page and Tim McMullan as a Polish doctor who lives upstairs. Also in the cast are Jacqueline Tong, Geoff Bretton, Rebecca O’Mara and Jack Tarlton.
Hall’s production of The Deep Blue Seadivided critics. While some applauded a “fine revival”, others felt it was “disappointingly uneven” and “limp”. Scacchi also fell prey to conflicting opinions with several critics worrying that her “oddly erratic performance” simply “goes elegantly through the motions of emotion” and feels forced. The Daily Telegraph’s Charles Spencer stood out as a big fan of both the production and Scacchi, who he declared “shatteringly fine” as the love-torn Hester Collyer. Despite its age, the “historic” play itself continues to impress with critics agreeing that it “still strikes notes of radical daring” and is possibly “one of the greatest plays of the 20th century”.
- by Kate Jackson