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June 9, 2021

Terence Rattigan In Five Plays


One of Britain’s greatest playwrights, Sir Terence Rattigan created a wealth of comedies and dramas that triumphed in the UK and US. From his first play, the comedy French Without Tears, penned in 1936, Rattigan established himself as an artist of emotion and issues of the heart.

Prepare to fall head over heels over these five highlights from the Concord Theatricals catalogue!

The Browning Version (US/UK)
Short Play, Drama / 2f, 5m
Regarded as one of Rattigan’s finest works, this 1948 play enjoyed several successful revivals and inspired two films and several television adaptations. After 18 years as classics teacher at an English boys’ school, Andrew Crocker-Harris is retiring due to ill health. His young wife Millie despises him for his failures and finds consolation with Frank, a younger teacher. As he bids farewell to his students, Crocker-Harris contemplates his life’s work, reflects on his marriage, and considers his future.

Cause Célèbre (US/UK)
Full-Length Play, Drama / 5f, 15m, 1 boy
A woman and her lover, a man 20 years her junior, stand trial for the murder of her husband in this incendiary recreation of the infamous case of Alma Rattenbury and 18-year-old George Percy Stoner. The 1935 case, in which Rattenbury was accused of murdering her husband in their Bournemouth home, created an early tabloid sensation and cast sexual freedom in sharp relief against the the stifling morality of post-Victorian England.

The Deep Blue Sea (US/UK)
Full-Length Play, Drama / 3f, 5m
Written in the early 1950s, when Rattigan was at the height of his career, The Deep Blue Sea is a powerful account of lives blighted by love – or the lack of it. The play opens with the failed suicide of Hester Collyer, who has deserted her husband for the charms of an ex-fighter pilot.

French Without Tears (UK)
Full-Length Play, Comedy / 3f, 7m
Rattigan’s 1936 comedy, set in a villa on the southern coast of France, was a runaway success, playing over 1,000 performances in London. As a gentleman and his daughter Jacqueline attempt to teach a group of young men to speak French, glamorous Diana Lake arrives and proceeds to charm the students one by one. When Diana decamps back to London, the forlorn suitors are left to the willing Jacqueline.

The Winslow Boy (UK)
Full-Length Play, Drama / 4f, 7m
Inspired by an actual event, Rattigan’s 1946 hit play concerns Cadet Ronnie Winslow, who is expelled from the Royal Naval College, accused of stealing. Ronnie’s father, refusing to believe his guilt and dissatisfied with the manner in which the investigation was conducted, demands a new inquiry and fights relentlessly for his son’s honor. Following an independent inquiry, the matter is taken to the House of Commons, but Arthur ruins himself financially and in health in the process. But his stubbornness wins: a civil trial is allowed and Ronnie is acquitted.

Visit the Concord Theatricals website to uncover more of Terence Rattigan’s stirring works, in the US or UK.