Based on the scandalous real-life case of Alma Rattenbury and her teenage lover, Terence Rattigan’s final play (written for radio, then adapted for the stage two years later in 1977) creates a fictional member of the jury which, in 1935, tried the couple for the brutal murder of her elderly spouse.
Niamh Cusack’s dowdy Edith, shunning conjugal relations with her own husband and alienating her sexually curious son with her prudish mind-set, is the polar opposite of Anne-Marie Duff’s slinky Alma.
A prototype cougar in silk and red lipstick, Alma determinedly beds the new chauffeur, even though he’s half her age.
Her refusal to denounce him in the courtroom, despite her super-smooth barrister (Nicholas Jones), proves all the more unexpected in this critique of English attitudes to class, age and sex.
Old Vic, The Cut, SE1 8NB
0844 871 7628
Till 11th June
– Louise Kingsley