THEATRE REVIEW: Love In Idleness starring Eve Best, Anthony Head & Helen George

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE: Menier Chocolate Factory

WHEN: 18/3, press night 20/3, runs to 29/4

Eve Best (pictured above) is 1 of our favourite actresses and here she plays a widow ‘living in sin’ with a Cabinet minister, much to the horror of her 18-year-old son who is returning home after evacuation in World War Two.

  • Read on for reasons including why Edward Bluemel is a name to watch out for

Love In Idleness is a 1944 comedy written by Terrence Rattigan and here is presented by director Trevor Nunn in a new version which plays up the left wing politics of the author’s original work before it was rewritten for its West End debut.

Edward Bluemel (pictured above with Best) plays Michael Brown, son of Best’s Olivia, who loathes her new multi-millionaire husband Sir John Fletcher (Anthony Head) and all he stands for. He’s terrific as the sulky teenager who apes Hamlet such is his desperation for his mother not to settle down with a new man so soon after his father’s death.

Helen George (from TV’s Call the Midwife) is underused as Sir John’s estranged wife. While Head occasionally fumbles his lines, Best inhabits perfectly the role of the woman who must choose between her lover, and the luxurious life he provides for her, and her son.

Rattigan’s strength is that he’s a convincing writer of leading roles for women and, as well as the drama, there’s much to laugh at here also.

Nunn has done a fine job with the direction and we particularly enjoyed the vintage film of the time projected on to the see-through curtain wrapped around the stage at the start of each scene.

The entire run of this production has sold out at the Menier and we can see it easily following Travesties from this location and into the West End soon.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy Menier Chocolate Factory. Tickets
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