Theatre , Drama
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(3 user reviews)
0 Love It
Save it
© Mark Douet

Abigail Cruttenden (Rona Trenting), Alexander Hanson (Will Trenting), Sam Clemmett (Ian Trenting)

© Mark Douet

Abigail Cruttenden (Rona Trenting), Alexander Hanson (Will Trenting)

© Mark Douet

Abigail Cruttenden (Rona Trenting), Alexander Hanson (Will Trenting)

© Mark Douet

Abigail Cruttenden (Rona Trenting), Jay Villiers (Thane Lampeter)

© Mark Douet

Alexander Hanson (Will Trenting), Abigail Cruttenden (Rona Trenting)

© Mark Douet

Alexander Hanson (Will Trenting), Bruce Alexander (Daker)

© Mark Douet

Alexander Hanson (Will Trenting), Bruce Alexander (Daker)

© Mark Douet

Bruce Alexander (Daker), Alexander Hanson (Will Trenting)

© Mark Douet

Olivia Darnley (Phyllis), Alexander Hanson (Will Trenting)

© Mark Douet

Sam Clemmett (Ian Trenting), Alexander Hanson (Will Trenting)

When a public figure falls from grace, who is the most immoral? He for breaking the rules? Or the press and public for ensuring that his transgression wrecks not just his own life, but those of everyone around him?

The Leveson Enquiry examined the technicalities surrounding this question at length, but Emlyn Williams’s 1950 play gently points to the more human side of the problem. At its heart is a writer protagonist whose promiscuity is accepted by his own family, but who finds himself in the media dock once he accepts a knighthood.

Blanche McIntyre’s warm, engaging production – a grander  restaging of her acclaimed 2011 revival at the tiny Finborough Theatre – takes us into territory extensively mapped out by both Noël Coward and Terence Rattigan. The dialogue is witty, the men and women pretty, and the drinks cabinet and closet both enjoy starring roles.

In a room lined with books and tradition, Alexander Hanson’s benignly anarchic author Will Trenting has just revealed to his wife that he has been made a knight. Abigail Cruttenden’s Rona Trenting is a woman of extraordinary emotional generosity who both knows of and accepts her husband’s enjoyment of orgies. Yet even she cannot foresee how his elevation to respectability will threaten to tear the family apart.

Williams was bisexual and the play is closely modelled on his own life. But since this is the ’50s, Trenting’s penchant is depicted as being for working-class girls rather than boys. For the first two-thirds of the play, his emotional honesty and his ability to turn his lifestyle into great literature dominate the action. Yet the arrival of Bruce Alexander’s creepy Daker reveals an unexpected consequence to Trenting’s secret life that will, once revealed, impact on the life of Trenting’s precocious and sensitive teenage son, Ian.
Without wishing to spoil the twist, Daker’s revelation evokes the spectre of some of today’s sex scandals. There is no doubt here that Trenting has been set up, and it is typical of his lack of hypocrisy that he questions his entire lifestyle as an indirect cause of his downfall rather than blaming the idiocy and malice of those around him. Yet despite the undoubted relevance of the questions the play raises, it feels like a period piece rather than modern commentary. The production’s appeal has as much to do with the beautifully measured performances as with the issues raised – not least Sam Clemmett’s Ian, whose heartbreaking trust in his father leads to the most powerful moment of the entire evening.

Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening
David A

Not a 'theatre goer' per se so, when I got free tickets with a Time Out Card competition I was excited - thanks guys!

The play definitely pleased me and my partner as the intrigue is nice and the actors are great and bring it to life really well. I also had the feeling that the cast 

While watching the Accolade I had a feeling of slow-ness but, quickly I wondered if it was not a case of being used to watch series, movies, musicals... where everything is fast paced so the viewer is constantly entertained. The conclusion is no, this is not a slow play but one that takes time to develop characters and the intrigue so the audience feels part of it and I loved this feeling - so well done!

I recommend and encourage you to go and see it.

A little dated and slow, so the cast had a lot of work to make something of this piece

Shona R

The cast were great, but the story-line was a little slow for my liking.  I expected a lot more scandal and intrigue.  Note: anyone who can't understand strong English accents, should give this one a miss