NATIONAL THEATRE PLAYS: THE DEEP BLUE SEA By Terrance Rattigan

Patti Abbott, in a comment over this past weekend, mentioned how much she misses live theater. So do I. I read Terry Teachout’s theater column in the WALL STREET JOURNAL which praised the UK’s National Theatre web site that offers free plays for a limited time. I’m hoping Skylight shows up later this summer, but for now until July 16 you can watch The Deep Blue Sea.

Terence Rattigan‘s The Deep Blue Sea contains one of the greatest female roles in contemporary drama, played by¬†Helen McCrory. Here’s the link:

Helen McCrory plays Hester Collyer and Tom Burke is Freddie Page, a couple dealing with Serious Problems. Yes, there are occasional laughs, but the core of The Deep Blue Sea centers around love and despair. The play is available for free through July 16. Then, another play will be made available. This isn’t ideal, but beggars can’t be choosers. GRADE: B+

17 thoughts on “NATIONAL THEATRE PLAYS: THE DEEP BLUE SEA By Terrance Rattigan

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    Never saw that, but we did see SKYLIGHT with Bill Nighy. PBS just announced their schedule for Great Performances, which will show another Broadway show every Friday starting July 24.

    7/24 SHE LOVES ME Laura Benanti & Zachary Levi (we’ve seen an earlier production, with Boyd Gaines)
    7/31 Noel Coward’s PRESENT LAUGHTER It doesn’t say which production. We saw Victor Garber do it on Broadway, so that could be the one.
    8/7 IN THE HEIGHTS: CHASING BROADWAY DREAMS Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast, leading up to the 2008 opening.
    8/14 MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING We’ve seen many versions of this, one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, but not this black Shakespeare in the Park version.
    8/21 Rodgers & Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I 2015 version with Kelli O’Hara (Tony winner) & Ken Watanabe

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Jeff, thanks for the PBS news. Diane and I will be DVRing and watching them although we have seen them all in various versions.

      Reply
    2. maggie mason

      thanks again Jeff. Our PBS station (still showing lawrence welk every sat) has She loves me and much ado (not sure if it’s this version or not) scheduled in the next 2 weeks. I really want to see Present, Laughter, In the Heights (wish it were the show) and King & I.

      Reply
      1. george Post author

        Maggie, if the PRESENT LAUGHTER version is the one we saw on Broadway a few years ago starring Kevin Kline, then you’re in for a real treat!

  2. Steve Oerkfitz

    Maybe I’ll give this a try even though I am not a big theater fan. Last play I saw was The Heidi Chronicles 25 years ago. Hated it. Not as funny or clever or a well written as an episode of Seinfeld. And it won a Pulitzer?

    Reply
  3. Jeff Meyerson

    I’ve seen movie versions of several of his plays, but the only one of Rattigan’s plays I remember seeing on the stage was a revival of SEPARATE TABLES.

    Rattigan was gay, and according to Wikipedia he wrote THE DEEP BLUE SEA about male lovers, only changing it to a heterosexual couple at the last minute.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Jeff, yes Rattigan’s THE DEEP BLUE SEA was first performed in 1952 when a gay play might have caused an earthquake. But I could see a contemporary version of THE DEEP BLUE SEA with gay characters would be extremely interesting (at least I would want to see it).

      Reply
  4. Patti Abbott

    I saw SKYLIGHT with these two on Broadway in 2015. Quite an experience. Yes, I think I miss plays more than movies.

    Reply
    1. Jeff Meyerson

      I just checked. The original ran in London and then New York in 1995 and 1996, with Michael Gambon starring. It returned to London in 1997, with Bill Nighy (in his first starring role) and Stella Gonet. That was the version we saw that August.

      Reply
    2. george Post author

      Patti, a good play is more powerful than a movie for me, too. That’s why the loss of the Shaw Festival because of the coronavirus is so tragic. Diane and I planned to see several of their plays in 2020.

      Reply
  5. Jeff Meyerson

    I put on the National Theatre site on YouTube, and they do have the Rattigan, but first we are watching the latest (2019) revival of Sondheim’s FOLLIES, a show we first saw with the original cast in 1971! We did see a version in London with Diana Rigg.

    Reply
  6. Jeff Meyerson

    Final note: We are big fans of Sondheim and FOLLIES, but I can’t really recommend this production too highly. First, if you are filming a play or a musical, it shouldn’t look like you are filming it from the last row of the theater. Half the time, I felt like that episode of Seinfeld when Kramer was filming movies for DVD sales. Occasionally, the camera did come in close enough. Also, the singing was uneven, as one couple had much stronger voices than the other. In particular, the guy who played Ben was no singer, in our opinion. The set was mostly awful, and it was too small for the room needed for the play.

    Oh well, the genius of FOLLIES is in Sondheim’s songs. We’ll try the Rattigan next, and if you go on YouTube (which we easily access on the television), there are a number of other shows available that look interesting.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Jeff, we can access YouTube on our Sony HDTV, too. But, I’ve watched movies and plays on my big screen Apple iMac, too. The Brits seem more adept at filming plays than Americans.

      Reply

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