Sensitive direction and superb cast in well-paced drama

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In Praise of Love,

Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne

Terence Rattigan is an under-rated playwright. For years his work was out of favour and his plays were rarely done.

So it is a pleasure to see Talking Scarlet has revived one of his most poignant works In Praise of Love and brought it to Eastbourne this week.

The play is based on the true life situation of Rex Harrison’s wife Kay Kendall who was dying but thought her husband did not know. Unbeknown to her he was getting regular medical reports on her condition but neither of them would express their true feelings right up to the day she died.

With a superb cast this is a very moving play that captures the uneasy family situation of the husband Sebastian, the dying wife Lydia, their son Joey and Sebastian’s best friend Mark who is in love with Lydia.

George Telfer gives a great performance as the tortured husband who covers up his real feelings by appearing selfish and uncaring while Lydia is equally well played by Jo Castleton who loves her husband but thinks he does not care.

Wealthy businessman Mark who travels from his Hong Kong home because Lydia needs him, is played with great compassion by John Hester and the Liberal son Joey, whose politics shocks his father, is played by Chris Sheridan.

This is probably the hardest part in the play as he has to gradually lose his hatred for his selfish father and bond with him by the end of the play so you know father and son will be all right when Lydia dies.

Patric Kearns has directed the piece very sensitively and got the pace just right. It is an excellent example of good theatre.

By Amanda Wilkins