Terence Rattigan said the play - written in 1961 - would not be a hit until years after his death. And the first revival at Yvonne Arnaud has every reason to be.
The theme is familiar Rattigan territory depicting the relationships between father and son fashioned by the bizarre behaviour of the father. Background this time is the power and corruption of a financier dabbling in mergers with dodgy collateral and the consequential disastrous effects on masses of investors and countries’ economies.
The absolute necessity of this piece is a highly capable actor to take Gregor Antonescu, the corrupt businessman being sought by the FBI. David Suchet fits the role to perfection in a tour de force that grips the audience completely. Silences are nail biting.
Suchet plays the bone dry sarcastic comedy with relish in immaculately timed clipped sentences. Confident and calm much of the time he explodes with loud fits of temper when the pressure is on. But even then his dialogue is well controlled.
His son is played with equal composure by Ben Silverstone in most dramatic and touching scenes with his father. Jennifer Lee Jellicorse is the girlfriend, David Yelland the financier’s friend and confident and Emma Ferguson plays the wife. Excellent contrasting characterisations are given by Colin Stinton and Will Huggins as the other businessmen.
The Greenwich village basement set is most striking with its two acting areas and brick walls. Simon Higlett was the designer with Mick Hughes working out excellent lighting.