As part of next year’s celebrations of Terence Rattigan’s centenary, the Jermyn Street Theatre is staging the premiere of his “unseen” play Less Than Kind, which runs from 21 January to 12 February 2011 (previews from 18 January).

Less Than Kind is the original 1944 play which was extensively rewritten for husband-and-wife acting duo Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne with the title Love in Idleness (US title O Mistress Mine).

The plot concerns Michael Brown, an idealistic socialist 17 year-old who, on his return from five years’ evacuation in Canada during World War Two, is horrified to find his widowed mother Olivia living with Sir John Fletcher, a married Tory MP and industrialist. The play centres on Olivia’s anguish as she is torn between her love for her son and for her lover.

The cast will feature: Michael Simkins (Sir John Fletcher), Sara Crowe (Olivia Brown), Caroline Head (Diana Fletcher), David Osmond (Michael Brown), Katie Evans (Polton) and Gillian Roy (Miss Dell). It is directed by Emmy Award-winner Adrian Brown, with design by Suzi Lombardelli and lighting and sound by Justin Emrys-Smith.

Terence Rattigan wrote 25 stage plays, plus numerous one-act plays, radio, television and film scripts. His plays include The Browning Version, The Winslow Boy, The Deep Blue Sea and Separate Tables.