Charles Morgan’s 1952 play depicts life inside the string of safe houses used to evacuate Allied servicemen from Nazi-occupied France. When the major of a fragmented platoon raises suspicion, he’s murdered. Four years later the consequences linger.
Anthony Biggs’s interpretation of this overlooked classic is highly engaging. The potentially jarring flashbacks of the second act are expertly navigated and the play’s high ambitions are met despite the small auditorium.
Initially it is uneventful, but strong performances keep Morgan’s poignant dialogue alive. Edmund Kingsley is brilliant as the wide-eyed American who refuses to put the past to rest. His frenetic pondering embodies a generation disturbed by their memories, but optimistic about the future.
Equally good is Christopher Fulford, who plays a hardened senior officer who refuses to ‘cry over spilt blood’. Surprisingly, the only weak link is ‘Twilight’ actor Charlie Bewley. He tries too hard to smoulder as the murdered major and lacks energy.
Like a fantastic Greek tragedy transposed to post-war Europe, ‘The River Line’ works its themes of death, grace and regret to powerful effect.
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