WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE?: Arcola Theatre
WHEN: 24/9, runs to 15/10
Terence Rattigan’s 1952 play The Deep Blue Sea, which ran this summer in an acclaimed version at the National starring Helen McCrory, is thought to be based on the author’s relationship with the actor Kenny Morgan.
- Read on for a view on Olivier-nominated musical star Paul Keating in the starring role
So in Mike Poulter’s play it is Morgan (and not McCrory’s character) who is found unconscious on the floor in the room of a Camden flat next to a gas fire after a failed suicide attempt.
It is Rattigan who is called to assist by Morgan’s neighbours because they can’t locate Morgan’s younger bisexual lover Alec (Pierro Niel-Mee, convincing as both selfish and heartless, pictured above left).
What follows is the playing out of Morgan and Alec’s relationship which is contrasted with the kindness of the neighbours in the flat, particularly a doctor who has been struck off (given great humanity and humour by George Irving).
At the heart of the piece is Paul Keating as Morgan (pictured above left), an actor predominantly known for his acclaimed roles in musicals, who has found an acting part that he owns.
Other than switching the gender role of the main part, Poulter’s play is faithful to Rattigan’s. It’s a brave decision to re-work it but makes for a thought-provoking afternoon.