The Children’s Hour
Keira Knightley brings an intense emotional power to her portrayal of a New England teacher falsely accused by a disgruntled, malevolent pupil, Mary, of having an “unnatural” lesbian relationship with her fellow schoolmistress and closest friend Martha (Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss).
Ian Rickson’s production of Lillian Hellman’s rather melodramatic 1934 play takes a while to grip as the pubescent fascinations of their teenage charges are over-heavily emphasised.
And the plot isn’t wholly credible either – it doesn’t take much for Mary’s grandmother (veteran actress Ellen Burstyn) to be convinced by a brat known to be a habitual liar and a vicious bully at school.
But the waiting pays off as the repercussions of the allegations against the teachers multiply and their lives are devastated by blind, unfounded prejudice.
Comedy Theatre, Panton Street, SW1Y 4DN
0844 871 7622
Tube: Piccadilly Circus
Until May 7
£15 – £60
– Louise Kingsley