Classic 1953 play by the English Chekhov is fascinating, but rather dated in its values and too clumsy in its production.
The rehabilitation of playwright Terence Rattigan has surpassed even the stage when not only are his best plays regularly revived, but also his less good work now reaches a large audience. So last year his masterpiece The Deep Blue Sea was at the National Theatre, while the enterprising Kenneth Branagh revived Harlequinade for the West End in November 2015.
35 years after his death, Kenneth Tynan still has the power to slice through the loudest chatter a rabble of theatre-goers can summon up. In Orson’s Shadow – Austin Pendleton’s knowingly smug biography of the founding fathers who devised the blueprint for the National Theatre – the legendary critic, played by a dashing Edward Bennett, strolls onto the stage before the lights go down. Right from his nonchalant entrance and through a meta-fictional commentary that sees him refusing to leave his profession in the wings, Bennett’s character casts himself as the driving force behind this show.