The Journey’s End of WW2
New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
Rattigan’s play could be seen as the Journey’s End of WW2.
Like R.C. Sheriff’s WW1 drama it shows British stoicism in the face of danger.
Both exemplify Stanislavski’s theory of the “given circumstances”. Thus a bus stop conversation is mundane. The same words become fraught with meaning before a battle.
The problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. (The play was written the same year as Casablanca.)
It is a rather clunky play and not the best of Rattigan. Will Patricia go back to her fading film star lover or stay with her pilot husband who needs her more?
Olivia Hallinan exudes 1940s chic as Patricia. Leon Ockenden as the film star is more Johnny Depp than wartime smoothie. Alastair Whatley hits all the right period notes as the pilot husband.
The depiction of working class characters and the Polish pilot are condescending. But the waiting and worrying of wartime are genuinely affecting.