Love in Idleness (Menier Chocolate Factory)

Trevor Nunn directs this lesser appreciated Terrence Rattigan play at the Menier Chocolate Factory, and I must admit I had slightly less than no idea what to expect.

Eve Best plays a widowed wannabe socialite whose relationship with Anthony Head’s Minister for Tanks during WW2. When her bratty son played by Edward Bluemel returns home from being evacuated to Canada he immediately takes against the match, and difficulty and pain follows soon after.

Critics have claimed that the play itself lets the production down, but I can’t say I felt particularly betrayed by the text – the world was believable and I bought it all. Much of this will have to have been down to three remarkable performances in the lead roles – Bluemel is every inch the snobby brat of a teenager stamping his foot about his mother’s new boyfriend. Anthony Head is smooth and charming and the perfect conservative foil to the jumpy and changeable. But the final and largest amount of praise has been reserved for Eve Best whose Olivia Brown is an absolute delight. Best’s performance is a triumph and she endows her character with loveabilty and annoyance in equal measure.

It’s transferring to the West End for a short run, and I think you’ll like it.

Check it out.

4/5

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