The Deep Blue Sea

Reviewed by
May 2012, no. 341

The Deep Blue Sea

Reviewed by
May 2012, no. 341

By chance, two of the most famous 1950s plays are in the news again. John Osborne’s historic rant, Look Back in Anger (1956), has been successfully revived on Broadway, while Terence Rattigan’s emotionally taut piece, The Deep Blue Sea (1952), has been filmed by another Terence – Davies, that is. In their day, Osborne railed against the ‘porcelain plates [of] the well-set table of British theatre’(John Lahr in the New Yorker), his arrows directed at the likes of Noël Coward and Rattigan, who in their turn were less than excited by Osborne’s class-based invective. It’s now at least arguable that Rattigan has outlasted Osborne; he has clearly been more frequently revived on stage – and on film and television – than his vituperative contemporary. Who now, I wonder, would rather watch or listen to Look Back than The Winslow Boy?

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