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Written the year after he completed his most famous work, The Forsyte Saga, novelist and playwright John Galsworthy’s 1922 social drama deals with subjects close to his heart – women’s rights, prison reform, the effects of seeing action during the First World War.

It makes for an entertaining couple of hours, but isn’t up there with the best of his work and Geoffrey Beevers’ sometimes rather broadly played production can’t match the standard of Alex Marker’s first rate design.

The toffs are toffs, and the working class are decidedly working class – and a serious relationship that crosses the divide is out of the question even in the liberal minded March family where head of the household Geoffrey pens novels and articles. Against strong opposition from his wife Joan (Carolyn Backhouse), he and his adult children - Johnny (who, since being demobbed, spends his time bemoaning the death of chivalry) and Mary - agree to give Faith, the daughter of their philosophising window cleaner, a job as housemaid, even though she has only recently been released from prison after serving a three year sentence for smothering her illegitimate two day old baby.

What the family doesn’t anticipate is that Faith’s deliberately flirtatious nature will captivate war-damaged, poetry-writing Johnny – a situation which puts their high minded principles to the test.

This is the first professional production since the original staging, and although Galsworthy puts both sides of the arguments – with wit, but perhaps a bit too neatly - the only truly three dimensional character is Faith (Charlotte Brimble),  a young woman who (like Johnny) has been through her own private hell but is now determined to live a little.

Finborough, Finborough Road, SW10 9ED

Tube: Earl’s Court

Until 9th September 2017 

£16 - £18


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