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The Winslow Boy


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Now in previews, The Winslow Boy is an English play from 1946 by Terence Rattigan based on an actual incident in the Edwardian era, which took place at the Royal Naval College, Osborne. This new production comes to Broadway from the Old Vic in London.


Many will remember the 1948 film with Robert Donat, Cedric Harwicke, and Margaret Leighton.


Michael Cumpsty (End of the Rainbow), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Man of La Mancha), Alessandro Nivola (A Month in the Country) and Roger Rees (The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby) star. Lindsay Posner (the West End’s Noises Off and Carousel) directs.


Ronnie Winslow, a fourteen-year-old cadet at the Royal Naval College, is accused of the theft of a five-shilling postal order. An internal enquiry, conducted without notice to his family and without benefit of representation, finds him guilty, and his father, Arthur Winslow, is "requested to withdraw" his son from the college (the formula of the day for expulsion). Winslow believes Ronnie's claim of innocence and, with the help of his suffragette daughter Catherine and his friend and family solicitor Desmond Curry, launches a concerted effort to clear Ronnie's name. Under English law, Admiralty decisions were official acts of the government, which could not be sued without consent—traditionally expressed by the Attorney General responding to a petition of right with the formula "Let right be done".



This is a good production, set in a Victorian London home. Roger Rees is excellent as the outraged father determined to clear his son and family name. Interestingly, young Ronnie Winslow seems not to care anything about the proceedings and in one scene falls asleep on the sofa while his family and solicitor argue about his case and fate.


My only criticism is that the plays seems to scream for a dramatic court room scene, especially that of when the verdict is delivered. The second hand recitation of the courtroom events loses its impact.


But, in the end, a nice evening of theater.



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