THEATRE REVIEW: The Deep Blue Sea starring Helen McCrory and Tom Burke


WHERE: National Theatre (Lyttelton Theatre)

WHEN: 4/6, press night 8/6 runs to 17/8

Written in 1952 the subject matter of Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea seems daring even now.

  • Read on for details of the play which examines the inspiration behind The Deep Blue Sea

Helen McCrory plays Hester Collyer who has split from her High Court judge husband and moved in with a younger former RAF pilot Freddy Page (War and Peace‘s Tom Burke).

At a time when critics question the lack of material written about older women, this story of choosing physical desire over security seems way ahead of its time.

There’s even a play running at east London’s Arcola about the inspiration behind The Deep Blue Sea.

We were drawn to this piece because it reunited McCrory (surely one of the UK’s most underrated actresses?) with director Carrie Cracknell after their memorable Medea here two years ago.

The set easily evokes the grey Ladbroke Grove apartment Collyer finds herself in as she attempts suicide and the use of shadows convey neatly the close-knit community which rallies around ‘Mrs Page’.

Peter Sullivan’s sterile judge is well-played and we understand Collyer’s attraction to Page but we’re never quite sure why she is so infatuated. We’d turn up the physical intensity between the two several notches before press night.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy National. Tickets available here.
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham

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