The play, set in an English public school in the 1930s, tells of two idealistic, rebellious students there, and how the personal becomes political as dealing with his own sexuality leads one of them towards the communism that the other espouses. The play is written by Julian Mitchell, whose extensive film and playwrighting credits include the script for the 1997 film Wilde and numerous episodes of the British television thriller Inspector Morse.
Originally a starring vehicle onstage for Kenneth Branagh and Rupert Everett, the latter reprissed his role in the subsequent 1984 film, while Branagh's was taken by Colin Firth, who had replaced him onstage. Among other replacement casts during the play's long original run, Daniel Day-Lewis made his West End debut in the play.
The new production, which showcases a whole new generation of young British actors (among the names to watch in the future: Alex Avery, Jamie de Courcey, Martin Hutson, Neil Jones, Ben Meyjes, Edward Purver, Ferdy Roberts and Tom Wisdom), is directed by Stephen Henry, who last year directed the British premiere of Terrence McNally's Corpus Christi at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and subsequently at London's Pleasance Theatre.