November to February 2010-2011 | A season of rediscovered plays


by Emlyn Williams

Tuesday, 1 February – Saturday, 26 February 2011

The first ever revival of the controversial play by Emlyn Williams.



“The reviewers’ cliché “Neglected plays are usually neglected for a good reason” carries the implicit qualifier “...except when the Finborough stages them.” The more obscure revivals presented by this little studio theatre are almost always worthwhile, often impressive and sometimes revelatory. With Emlyn Williams’ 1950 drama, here receiving its first revival, we are well into revelation." Ian Shuttleworth, FInancial Times

Part of RediscoveriesUK – A three month season of rediscovered plays by writers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

“We all have one thing we are ashamed of. All those out there have. Even the judge has, who’ll be peering at you over his glasses, making you feel like dirt. Only you have committed the sin of being found out.” 

Will Trenting, famous for his scandalous novels, is about to be knighted – an accolade which will welcome him to the establishment. But Will has been leading a double life and the award turns a spotlight on it. Tales surface of drunken parties, orgies and rough trade, and on the eve of his knighthood Will is accused of a shocking crime. Threatened with blackmail, Will has to decide where his priorities lie. Darkly comic and shocking, Accolade blows the lid off British hypocrisy.

“Williams, a Welsh wizard and a sexual pioneer, is long overdue for public revival…If any dramatist of the post-war period came close to breaking the coded secrecy that surrounded homosexuality, it was Emlyn Williams in a now-forgotten but astonishing play, Accolade” - Michael Billington in his book State of the Nation

Accolade opened at the Aldwych Theatre on 7 September 1950, with Williams himself playing Will Trenting. This will be the first revival since the original production.


Emlyn Williams ‘the Welsh Noël Coward’, was one of the most successful writers of the 1930s and 1940s. Williams (1905-1987) combined a dazzling commercial instinct with daring, edgy writing that pushed the boundaries of acceptable theatre. His numerous plays include A Murder Has Been Arranged, The Late Christopher Bean, Spring 1600, Someone Waiting, The Morning Star, The Wind of Heaven, The Light Of Heart and Trespass. Williams’ greatest works, Night Must Fall and The Corn Is Green, were made into films starring Albert Finney, Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn. He also worked with Alfred Hitchcock and Carol Reed as a screenwriter. Productions of his work starred Ethel Barrymore and Gregory Peck, and more recently Ian McKellen, Deborah Kerr, Mathew Broderick and Jason Donovan. Williams’ autobiographical comedy The Druid’s Rest launched the career of Richard Burton, and was revived for a sell-out Sunday and Monday run at the Finborough Theatre in 2009. Williams’ appearances as an actor included Hitchcock’s Jamaica Inn and Alexander Korda’s unfinished I, Claudius in which he played Caligula to Charles Laughton’s Claudius. A lifelong bisexual who came ‘out’ ahead of most of his contemporaries, Williams balanced his marriage and family life with a series of flings. The stresses of leading a double life are explored in Accolade. For many years, Williams lived at Dovehouse Street in Chelsea, a short walk from the Finborough Theatre.


Patrick Brennan trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Theatre includes The Reporter, Oedipus, Light Shining in Buckinghamshire , Entertaining Strangers, Antony and Cleopatra and King Lear (National Theatre), A Clockwork Orange, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet (Royal Shakespeare Company), Henry IV, Parts I and II, In Extremis, Measure for Measure, Edward II, Richard II, Twelfth Night, Macbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Promise (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), Rainman (National Tour), Snowbound (Trafalgar Studios), Guys and Dolls (Donmar at the Piccadilly Theatre),The Shadow of a Gunman (Tricycle Theatre), Electricity and Don Juan (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and productions and seasons for Bristol Old Vic, Nottingham Playhouse, Octagon Theatre Bolton, Derby Playhouse, New Vic Theatre Newcastle-under-Lyme, Ludlow Festival, Liverpool Playhouse, Thorndike Theatre Leatherhead, Theatre Royal Stratford East, and Sherman Theatre, Hi Jinx,Y Cymni and Made in Wales Stage Company (all Cardiff). TV includes State of Play, Crimson Petal and the White, Without Motive, NHS A Difficult Beginning, The Captain Bligh Conspiracy, Caerdydd, EastEnders, Holby City, Casualty, Doctors, Coronation Street, Nightshift, Every Cloud, Order out of Chaos, In the Company of Strangers, Wing and a Prayer, Midsomer Murders, Cadfael and live BBC broadcasts of Richard II and Measure for Measure at Shakespeare’s Globe. Film includes Franklin and Into The Storm. Radio includes numerous broadcasts for BBC Radio 4, Radio 3,BBC Wales and BBC World Service.

Olivia Darnley appeared in Noël Coward’s The Rat Trap (2007) at the Finborough Theatre. Theatre includes All My Sons (Apollo Theatre), Artist Descending a Staircase (Old Red Lion Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park), As You Like It (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, and Royal Shakespeare Company), Hay Fever (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Arms and The Man (Salisbury Playhouse), Private Lives, Much Ado About Nothing (Theatre Royal Bath), The Little Fir Tree (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), Vincent in Brixton (Library Theatre, Manchester), Northanger Abbey (York Theatre Royal), The Importance of Being Earnest (Theatre Royal Bath and National Tour), The Taming of the Shrew (National Tour) and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Bristol Old Vic). Film and Television include Marple – The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, Doctors, Hughie Green: Most Sincerely, Death Defying Acts, Agatha Christie: A Life in Pictures, Hear the Silence and Inspector Lynley Mysteries: A Suitable Vengeance.

Simon Darwen appeared in Fanny and Faggot (2007) at the Finborough Theatre and its subsequent transfer to Trafalgar Studios, and is a member of the Finborough Theatre Literary Department workshop ensemble. Theatre includes Love Love Love (Paines Plough and Drum Theatre, Plymouth), Great Ramshackle Heart (Public Theater, New York), Shove and Playlist (Theatre 503), Mad Forest (JMK Award at the BAC), Jonny Macabe (Arcola Theatre and Latitude Festival), The Merchant of Venice, The Tragedy of Thomas Hobbes, The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Royal Shakespeare Company), Signs of Rust, 1 in 5 (Hampstead Theatre), Flamingos (Nabokov atLatitude), The Wonder: A Woman Keeps a Secret (BAC), 24 Hour Plays: Ready (Old Vic), Romance and The Strange Case of Donovan Ray (Old Vic New Voices), Nikolina (Theatre Royal Bath) and Bedtime for Bastards (Old Red Lion Theatre). Simon works extensively for numerous new writing companies including Nabokov, Old Vic New Voices, Theatre 503/Foundations and Drywrite. Televison includes The Bill. Film includes Morris: A Life With Bells On, A Simple Man and Howard Everyman. Radio includes Mayfly, Ready.

Alan Francis' theatre includes Caledonia and the Wonderful World of Dissocia (National Theatre of Scotland), Twelfth Night (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Hotel Play (Royal Court Theatre), A Streetcar Named Desire (Perth Rep), The Wages of Thin (Old Red Lion Theatre), Three Men in a Boat (York Theatre Royal), The Winter’s Tale (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh) and Take A Chance on Me (New End Theatre, Hampstead). Television includes Psychoville, Taggart, Pulling, BBC Last Laugh, SPY TV and Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression. Film includes The Debt Collector.

Aden Gillett's theatre includes The Little Hut (National Tour),The Price (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh), Amongst Friends (Hampstead Theatre), Mary Poppins (Prince Edward Theatre), Blithe Spirit (Savoy Theatre), Betrayal (Duchess Theatre), Design for Living (Theatre Royal Bath), Benefactors (Albery Theatre), Noises Off (National Theatre), Suzanna Andler (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Seagull, An Inspector Calls (Royale Theatre, Broadway), Three Sisters (Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch), The Ghost Train (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), Too Clever by Half, The Tempest (Old Vic), Twelfth Night and El Cid (Donmar Warehouse), Wild Honey, Marat Sade, The Importance of Being Earnest, All's Well That Ends Well (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Great Expectations, Hay Fever, The Admirable Crichton (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester) as well as seasons for Cheek by Jowl. Television includes The Queen’s Sister, Margaret, The Impressionists, Pollyanna, Innocents, Tenth Kingdom, Silent Witness, Wonderful You, Touching Evil II, The Guinea Pig, Ivanhoe, The Vet, House of Eliott, Silk, Ivanhoe, Midsomer Murders, Berlin Break and The Harry Enfield Show. Film includes You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Collusion, Shadow of the Vampire, The Winslow Boy, The Borrowers, Under the Lighthouse Dancing.

Emma Jerrold appeared in Blanche McIntyre’s production of Moliere or The League of Hypocrites (2009) at the Finborough Theatre. Trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School where she won the Peter Akerman award for Comedy. Theatre includes Macbeth (National Theatre), Speed Dating: The Musical (Jermyn Street Theatre), Like One Of Us (Gate Theatre), Tuesdays (Lowdown at The Albany), Lady Windermere's Fan (Landor Theatre), Party Piece (National Tour) and David Copperfield (Eastern Angles). Television includes EastEnders and Bad Girls. Film includes Lecture 21 and 3 Minute Moments. Emma is currently developing her own TV comedy series The Green.

Patrick Osborne trained at the University of Warwick, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he was nominated for the Spotlight Prize and a Laurence Olivier Bursary.. Theatre includes The Soldier's Tale (Barbican Theatre), Don Juan in Soho, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Seagull, King Lear, Still Life, Six Characters in Search of an Author (Guildhall School of Music and Drama), After Liverpool (Roar Theatre) and his own play The Möbius Strip (Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Branoul Theatre, The Hague). Television includes The Borgias and My Parents Are Aliens.

Graham Seed appeared in Bernard Shaw’s Too True to Be Good (2009) at the Finborough Theatre. Trained at RADA. Theatre includes Toad of Toad Hall (West End), Me and My Girl (Adelphi Theatre), Relatively Speaking, Confusions (National Tour), Design For Living (English Touring Theatre), Twelfth Night (BAC), Translations (Watford Palace and National Tour), A Chaste Maid of Cheapside (Almeida National Tour), Journey’s End (National Tour), Someone to Watch Over Me (English Theatre, Frankfurt), An Eligible Man (New End Theatre, Hampstead), The Skin Game (Orange Tree Theatre), Nelson (Nuffield Theatre, Southampton), Present Laughter (Clwyd Theatr Cymru), French Without Tears (The Mill at Sonning) and many repertory seasons including Chichester, Birmingham, Greenwich, Perth and the Library Theatre, Manchester. Film includes Tezz, Gandhi, Good and Bad at Games, Honest, Little Dorrit, These Foolish Things and Wild Target. Television includes I Claudius, Edward VII, Brideshead Revisited, Who’s Who, Victoria Wood Sketches, Jeeves and Wooster, Crossroads, Prime Suspect, Nature Boy, Dinnerladies, Station Jim, Band of Brothers, The Chatterley Affair, Doctors, Midsomer Murders and He Kills Coppers. Radio includes playing Nigel Pargetter in The Archers for the last twenty eight years.

Saskia Wickham's theatre includes Wait Until Dark (Garrick Theatre),The Importance of Being Earnest (Chichester Festival Theatre and Theatre Royal Haymarket), Racing Demon (National Theatre, US Tour and West End), Absence of War (National Theatre), The Clandestine Marriage, Uncle Vanya (Bristol Old Vic) and One Over Eight (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough). Television includes Peak Practice, Blue Murder, Clarissa, The Last Van Helsing, Midsomer Murders, Judge John Deed, Monarch of the Glen, Waking the Dead, William and Mary, Our Friends in the North and Absence of War. Film includes Anna Karenina, Angels and Insects and The Prince of Jutland.


Blanche McIntyre is the first winner of the Leverhulme Bursary for  Emerging Theatre Directors. She was Director in Residence at the National Theatre Studio and the Finborough Theatre in 2009, and Associate Director at Out Of Joint in 2010. Her last production at the Finborough Theatre, Bulgakov's Molière or the League of Hypocrites, received four stars and was Critics' Choice in The Guardian. Other directing includes Green and Rock Paper Scissors as part of Vibrant - An Anniversary Festival of Finborough Playwrights (Finborough Theatre), Birds (Southwark Playhouse), The Revenger's Tragedy (BAC), Three Hours After Marriage (Union Theatre), The Master and Margarita (Greenwich Playhouse), Cressida, The Invention of Love (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), and Wuthering Heights (National Tour). 


“In Earl's Court, the Finborough Theatre has struck gold. There's no other word for this overlooked treasure by Emlyn Williams.” Lloyd Evans, The Spectator

“We do love the seasons at Finborough Theatre. One of London's most reliable fringe venues for excellent scripts and great acting. Accolade is part of RediscoveriesUK, a three month season of plays by writers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.” Spoonfed

“Considered a controversial play at the time due to its unashamedly frank approach to sexuality, it will hardly seem risqué to modern audiences but as it is a rather tightly-constructed drama filled with suspense and given an excellent production here with Blanche McIntyre directing, one can’t help but wonder how on earth it has taken so long to get this back on the stage!” Ian Foster, The Public Reviews

“Kudos to Finborough Theatre for staging another winner.” Jafar Iqbal, Extra Extra

“Accolade is humorous, humane and subtle in its suspenseful twists, and McIntyre's up-close staging enthralls. A talented young director and an exceptional fringe revival.” Kate Bassett, The The Independent on Sunday

“Topicality comes in all theatrical forms, though rarely with the punch of Accolade, the 1950 Emlyn Williams play that is now receiving its first-ever London revival at the Finborough Theatre through Feb. 26. The tiny pub venue, situated in an upscale area of west London, seats 50.” Matt Wolf, New York Times

“Accolade already classifies as one of the defining rediscoveries of this theatrical year.” Matt Wolf, New York Times

“An interesting play with its timeless relevance combined with a vibrant production which has been excellently cast, the Finborough have revived a winner here: book now, this will surely sell out quickly.” Ian Foster, The Public Reviews

“Williams enters a plea for tolerance and understanding that anticipates later plays of the decade such as Rattigan's Separate Tables. It is an extraordinarily bold play for its time but also one that has purchase for the present, where the private lives of public figures are meat and drink to the media.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“It seems almost unbelievable that this excellent play has lain dormant since 1950.” Lizzie Loveridge, Curtain Up

“I dreaded most the denouement which I feared might be dated and mawkish but I was wrong. Accolade has sold out at the 50 seat Finborough almost before it opened but this fine production surely deserves another life.” Lizzie Loveridge, Curtain Up

“It is no wonder that the Finborough is scooping up awards as Fringe Theatre of the Year when Neil McPherson and his team mine these unknown rare diamonds and give them excellent productions. In 2009 Emlyn Williams' biographical comedy The Druid's Rest was given its first revival here for 60 years and now his Accolade is revived for the first time since its West End production in 1950.” Lizzie Loveridge, Curtain Up

“With a fraction of the budget and playing space, this is the production last year’s National Theatre revival of Rattigan’s After The Dance wanted to be – and perhaps the play it wanted to be as well.” Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times

“As part of its RediscoveriesUK season, the Finborough Theatre's revival of Emlyn Williams' Accolade is another successful revitalising of a powerful, lesser-performed play - a fantastic production, excellently realised with a talented cast, beautiful design and elegant direction, with nary a fault to be criticised. This is top notch theatre, remarkable quality on par with some of the best of the West End, and a brilliant choice of play - a must-see and top recommendation.” Chris Hislop, Fringe Review

“In short, there is nothing to criticise here, and plenty to delight in - a great play, excellent cast and perfect setting!” Chris Hislop, Fringe Review

“This really is a must-see - I cannot recommend it enough.” Chris Hislop, Fringe Review

“This is a stunning rediscovery, and a frightening parable of the Jekyll and Hyde in us all, let alone our artists.” Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage

“Accolade is an even better play: a forgotten gem written by Emlyn Williams in 1950.” Kate Bassett, The Independent on Sunday

“Accolade marks the end of the Finborough's triptych of revisited classics, and they have chosen the material well. Accolade, last seen in the 50s, is a comparatively newer piece than it’s predecessors, and has a sharper point in it’s heart – an attack on British hypocrisy.”,

“Finishing off the Finborough's current season of neglected plays from each of the home nations we come to Wales and Emlyn Williams'.”

“The Finborough's policy of reviving lost classics has the inevitable downside of occasionally reviving plays that were lost for a reason but this is one of those that feels not only very much of its time but also incredibly current.”

“Did the Royal Court revolution of the '50s really render the closeted West End giants of the previous generation obsolete?” Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out

“What a fascinating piece of theatrical archaeology this is. The ever-inventive Finborough is giving a long-overdue revival, the first since its 1950 West End premiere.” Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard

“The "Welsh Noël Coward" offers a wonderful insight into austerity-era morality, remarkably similar to today's "every public figure is fair game" thinking.” Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard

“This superbly cast first revival for Emlyn Williams's 1950 drama 'Accolade', director Blanche McIntyre unearths a potent broadside directed at English prurience and hypocrisy.” Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out

“Accolade is an elegantly understated piece with a palpable fury in its depths. It's hard not to see what closeted bisexual Williams was really writing about; and it's all too easy to note that in 2011 the moral majority can be just as hypocritical.” Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out

“Deeply affecting, notably in the superbly underplayed scene where Will risks his relationship with his son by confessing to him.” David Benedict, Variety

“And it is nice, after sixty-plus years, to see that it still has all its power, making for a thoroughly satisfying evening's entertainment.” Gerald Berkowitz, Theatre Guide London

“Part of the Finborough’s Rediscoveries UK season, Williams’s play here makes a strong case for its readmission to the canon. A curious counterpart to the unspoken tensions being played out in this year’s Rattigan anniversary stagings, Williams’s explicit confrontations offer a welcome alternative – period artifice framing distinctly progressive values.” Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk

“The Finborough is proving remarkably consistent at the moment, both in its ability to revive the reputations of neglected stars of the past and in commissioning new writing.” Philip Fisher, The British Theatre Guide

“It's amazing just how something written over sixty years ago can still be as valid and relevant in the twenty-first century. The nature of celebrity, the media, and their tumultuous relationship was as important then as it is now, so a playwright who tackles that subject (and tackles it well) can be rest assured that their work will stand the test of time.” Jafar Iqbal, Extra Extra

“This first ever revival of Emlyn Williams's 1950 play is remarkable in how unlike a period piece it feels.” Julia Rank, MusicOmH

“One of the very nice things about Williams' play is that almost none of the plot turns or character reactions after that point are predictable, so that your interest and emotional involvement are held throughout.” Gerald Berkowitz, Theatre Guide London

“Doubtless this will sound terribly old-fashioned. And so it is. This is a 'well-made play', one of those terms of approval which was mysteriously converted into a putdown by absurdists and post-modernists and other bores. The structure of this script is simply exquisite. And that doesn't mean one spends any time admiring it. Rather the opposite. By artfully concealing its folds and intricacies it keeps one in delicious agonies of suspense throughout. It's impossible to know when or from where destiny will deliver its next cruel blow.” Lloyd evans, The Spectator

“Emlyn Williams is a largely forgotten dramatist these days, but the invaluable Finborough has dug up a fascinating 1950 play, Accolade.” Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage

“This is a rediscovery: a 1950 play by Emlyn Williams that provides an exciting suspense-drama, a portrait of the Jekyll-and-Hyde existence of a successful novelist and a metaphor for the bisexuality of many celebrated public figures in a decade clouded by fear.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“But the real excitement comes from the rediscovery of the oddly neglected Williams and the reminder that, even before the Royal Court revolution, plays were capable of addressing the state of the nation.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“A sharp thriller pivoting on a celebrity being caught having sex with a 14-year-old girl… was it written last year? In the last decade? Neither. The most shocking thing about Emlyn Williams's fascinating "Accolade" is that it was first performed in 1950. And has never been seen since. Blanche McIntyre's suspense-filled, utterly authentic exhumation doesn't just vindicate the Finborough Theater's laudable ReDiscoveriesUK season, it's riveting viewing.” David Benedict, Variety

“With Alan Johnson’s resignation still fresh in the mind, and fascination with William Hague’s sleeping arrangements still not forgotten, this first revival of the play couldn’t be more neatly timed.” Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk

“The reviewers’ cliché “Neglected plays are usually neglected for a good reason” carries the implicit qualifier “...except when the Finborough stages them.” The more obscure revivals presented by this little studio theatre are almost always worthwhile, often impressive and sometimes revelatory. With Emlyn Williams’ 1950 drama, here receiving its first revival, we are well into revelation. Williams’ treatment of his material would be remarkable even today; that this was written 60 years ago, and passed entirely uncensored by the Lord Chamberlain’s office of the time, is almost unbelievable.” Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times

“Emlyn Williams may have been dubbed the “Welsh Noël Coward” and the action of his long-neglected Accolade may take place in a drawing room, but there’s little of the smiling social comedy to be found here.” Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk

“The cast is superb.” Lucy Land, West London Living

“The whole run is now sold out and with such a good cast in a beautifully constructed and highly diverting play, that is as it should be.” Philip Fisher, The British Theatre Guide

“Aden Gillett is excellent in the central role” Ian Foster, The Public Reviews

“Aden Gillett, tense and edgy with his family but relaxed with his louche lower-class acolytes, perfectly displays both sides of Trenting's divided character.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“The excellent Gillett reveals sparks of dangerous volatility underneath an urbane exterior and there's fine support, in Blanche McIntyre's elegant production, from Wickham, Patrick Osborne as Trenting's achingly gauche teenage son and Graham Seed as a down-at-heel would-be blackmailer.” Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard

“Gillett's calibration of the differing intensities of Will's shame is spellbinding.” David Benedict, Variety

“With admirable, unflinching rectitude by Aden Gillett.” Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage

“The cast is splendid. Aden Gillett has a fluidity of speech and emotion suited to a studio portrayal of Trenting, and Saskia Wickham shows us the wife’s heart beneath the social surface. Patrick Brennan journeys from priggishness to self-conscious support as Trenting’s publisher, and as the sanctimonious smuthound Daker, Graham Seed, his character recently killed off in The Archers, makes one want to throw him off a roof all over again.” Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times

“Aden Gillett brings a wonderful sense of grace and fragile nobility to the lead role. Saskia Wickham is terrific as his long-suffering, big-hearted and mighty-bosomed wife. As the teenage son, Patrick Osborne is marvellously convincing.” Lloyd Evans, The Spectator

“A detailed production that's blessed with just about the finest cast I've ever seen in a fringe show: Gillett shines as the quietly dignified Will, while Graham Seed - lately of 'The Archers' - is mesmerising as loathsome blackmailer Daker.” Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out

“Aden Gillett and Saskia Wickham are brilliant. The two have such fantastic chemistry that as their relationship begins to falter, we are emotionally invested in it.” Jafar Iqbal, Extra Extra

“Saskia Wickham and Patrick Brennan are respectively superb as Trenting’s loyal, tolerant wife and his glacially calculating publisher.” Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage

“No accolades are too great for a cast headed by Aden Gillett, Saskia Wickham and Graham Seed. The praise afforded “Accolade,” one senses, has only just begun.” Matt Wolf, New York Times

“Both Gillett and Wickham offer exemplary, understated performances.” Paul Vale, The Stage

“Saskia Wickham’s quietly tolerant wife played the emotional restraint beautifully” Ian Foster, The Public Reviews

“Saskia Wickham provides a solid core to the play as his always supportive wife.” Gerald Berkowitz, Theatre Guide London

“Saskia Wickham is splendid as the plummy liberal pragmatist, Rona.” Kate Bassett, The Independent on Sunday

“Saskia Wickham, delivers an outstandingly sensitive performance.” Julia Rank, MusicOmH

“The sublime Saskia Wickham.” Paul Vale, The Stage

“Strong support is given by Simon Darwen and Olivia Darnley as Harold and Phyllis, Trenting’s jolly Rotherhithe swingers and Graham Seed, late of the The Archers is perfectly creepy as the seedy blackmailer, Daker.” Paul Vale, The Stage

“Graham Seed brought a creepy, lip-licking shiftiness to his would-be blackmailer” Ian Foster, The Public Reviews

“Graham Seed is sublime as the sweaty, dishevelled and ingratiating blackmailer. The Rattigan revival is now reaching its maturity. With this play Emlyn Wiliams pushes his way to the head of the queue and calls, 'Me next!'” Lloyd Evans, The Spectator

“There is a peach of a performance from Graham Seed as a sly blackmailer who veers between ingratiation and menace.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“In a performance of whispering, oozing bitterness as failed blackmailer Daker, The Archers’s Graham Seed pulls off a minor miracle.” Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk

“Strong and fully rounded performances from the rest of the cast, notably Graham Seed as the sad little blackmailer, Simon Darwen and Olivia Darnley as real friends from the hero's secret world, and Alan Francis as an able and loyal butler.” Gerald Berkowitz, Theatre Guide London

“Simon Darwen and Olivia Darnley brought a real grounded humanity to their East-end couple, seemingly a world away from the Trentings’ world, but such warm, well-rounded characters that they were utterly believable” Ian Foster, The Public Reviews

“Olivia Darnley's vivacious and animated Cockney sparrow.” Lizzie Loveridge, Curtain Up

“Patrick Osborne, controlling much of the show’s comedy as the innocent source of dramatic irony and screw-turning emotion.” Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk

“Patrick Osborne also gets some good laughs playing the Trentings' charmingly innocent, teenage son Ian.” Philip Fisher, The British Theatre Guide

“Osborne and the fantastic Saskia Wickham as the stoical Rona, Alan Francis' faithful secretary¹, Patrick Brennan's sniffy publisher, Emma Jerrold as a family friend, Simon Darwen and Olivia Darnley's cockney "party" enthusiasts and Seed's blackmailer, whose overt friendliness suggests his sinister purpose right from the start. I don't often feel the need to list the entire cast but there's nobody here who doesn't get their show-stealing moment and they make this show more than the sum of its parts.”

“Blanche McIntyre's superbly acted production captures precisely the feel of a period of double-lives and double-standards.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Upcoming director McIntyre is alive to the play's every emotional nuance.” David Benedict, Variety

“McIntyre's first-rate production ensures that its dilemmas remain timeless and gripping.” David Benedict, Variety

“She and designer James Cotterill audaciously reconfigure the tiny stage into an in-the-round space of the drawing-room in which everything happens.” David Benedict, Variety

“Director Blanche McIntyre guides her actors through the shoals of melodrama and moral debate without losing the core humanity of the story or the playwright's sympathy for all the characters.” Gerald Berkowitz, Theatre Guide London

“Blanche McIntyre's strongly cast and understated production.” Kate Bassett, The Independent on Sunday

“Blanche McIntyre’s beautifully understated production shows how powerfully emotion can be conveyed without raised voices. McIntyre and her impeccable cast make a strong case for Emlyn Williams to receive a similar kind of attention to the treatment that Terence Rattigan is receiving this year. Williams’s label as ‘the Welsh Noel Coward’ seems rather misleading- beyond the well-upholstered drawing room (designed by James Cotterill and lined with excellent bookcase wallpaper) is a very painful reality that The Master’s characters in their secluded little world are comfortably shielded from.” Julia Rank, MusicOmH

“Blanche McIntyre has unearthed a Shavian morality tale with echoes of Macbeth that has not seen the light of day since it opened half way through the last century.” Philip Fisher, The British Theatre Guide

“Ms McIntyre, who produced an excellent revival of Bulgakov's Molière at the Finborough a couple of years ago, provides a really worthy revival that is distinguished by fine character acting not only from the two leads but also Patrick Brennan as Thane Lampeter, Will's immaculately respectable publisher, and Alan Francis playing Albert”. Philip Fisher, The British Theatre Guide

“Director Blanche McIntyre has constructed a riveting production with tip-top performances.” Lizzie Loveridge, Curtain Up

“Blanche McIntyre’s direction includes some affecting touches that help recreate a real sense of family, compounded by James Cotterill’s excellent set design, which turns the whole space into the Trenting’s library and seats some of the audience.” Paul Vale, The Stage

“Blanche McIntyre’s career-making production.” Matt Wolf, New York Times

“Blanche McIntyre’s production matches the play in quality and approach.” Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times

“Blanche McIntyre’s production captures the period brilliantly.” Lucy Land, West London Living

“The set is beautifully crafted with excellent attention to detail and, before the show has even started, the audience is immersed in this world.” Jafar Iqbal, Extra Extra

“Highly recommended.” Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard


Nicola Seed has been awarded a Stage One Bursary for New Producers 2010–2011. To find out more information about Stage One and its development programmes, please contact



Tuesday, 1 February – Saturday, 26 February 2011

Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Saturday and Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm.
Extra Midweek Matinees on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 February at 3.00pm
Performance Length: Two hours 15 minutes with one interval.

1 February - 13 February 2011



15 February - 26 February 2011

Tickets £18, £15 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £15 all seats, and Saturday evenings £18 all seats. 



Written by Emlyn Williams

Directed by Blanche McIntyre

Designed by James Cotterill

Lighting by Neill Brinkworth

Sound by Edward Lewis

Presented by Nicola Seed in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre