Terence Rattigan’s Flare Path is a period peace, written in 1941, with no possibility of updating to current times, but there’s no necessity for even thinking of that. It stands up perfectly and still packs a punch, also being particularly apt just after Remembrance Day.
Set in the lounge of an hotel adjacent to an airbase, various aircrew plan a weekend with their wives.
The situation is complicated by the arrival of a fading Hollywood actor intent on furthering his former affair with wife of a bomber pilot. Having been an RAF rear gunner early in the war, Rattigan is writing from experience.
Wartime heightened tensions and experiences, but these are shown with typical English understatement and restraint as planes take off on the Flare Path seen from the hotel window. Tension builds steadily as various relationships are brought to a head when an unscheduled night bombing raid carries on.
Back from the frightening raid, pilot Teddy says: “You think this can’t be happening, I’ll wake up. But you don’t wake up, it is really happening.”
Set, costumes, hair styles and sound effects are pitch perfect, as are the utterly convincing actors.
A great play and a great production of it which deserves to be a sell out. It runs until Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are on 01225 463362. Don’t miss it.