Following a critically acclaimed and sold out run as part of Chichester’s Festival 2011, the
double bill of Terence Rattigan’s one-act masterpiece The Browning Version and David Hare’s specially
commissioned companion piece South Downs has now transfered to Harold Pinter Theatre
Anna Chancellor and Nicholas Farrell lead the casts in these plays which
examine life in boarding public schools. Rattigan’s own Harrow School and Hare’s own Lancing
College provide the backdrop for two moving and resounding stories, one told through the
eyes of a master and one told through the eyes of a boy. Both revolve around unexpected acts
of kindness which place the harsh and at times cruel worlds of these schools into stark contrast.
South Downs is set in the 1960's, John Blakemore superbly played by Alex Lawther, a precocious, bright and inquisitive student who is in trouble for writing a letter of protest to the newspapers. He is not liked by the other boys, but his response is "I don't like me either". His only friend abandons him. A dashing and popular prefect with a movie star mother and Blakemore's life takes an unexpected turn.
The Browning Version steps back 20 years. Nicholas Farrell is outstanding as Crocker-Harris the classics master, known as Himmler of the lower fifth, who is forced into retirement without a pension. His dysfunctional marriage to the wealthy Millie, played by Anna Chancler and his lack of self esteem take an unexpected turn with the small act of kindness from a pupil.
This production is certain to pick up awards. I urge you to see it you wont be disappointed.