(Tom Burke and Helen McCrory in the National Theatre’s recent run of The Deep Blue Sea)
The Deep Blue Sea, Terrence Rattigan (1952)
The action passes during the course of a day in September in the sitting-room of a furnished flat in the north-west of London.
Perspective shifting book number one. The Deep Blue Sea is a gloriously crafted play by Rattigan. Set in post-war Britain, Hester Collyer is embroiled in a fiery affair with an ex-RAF pilot (Freddie); a sharp, passionate man in whom Hester finds a passionate, carnal reciprocation that she is denied in her marriage to a high-court judge (Collyer). The poignant autobiographical influence of this play is clear. Rattigan’s lover, Kenny Morgan, committed suicide by gassing himself before a fireplace, and the tableau vivant greeting audiences is the leading actress attempting the same thing.