This is a play that will stay with you after you leave the theatre. Terrence Rattigan is the ultimate playwright if you wish to see quiet desperation. It starts out by seeing the bitter humour in a suicide attempt that fails because the money in the meter ran out and it gets darker from there.
Hester Collyer is surely one of the best parts written in the 20th Century and the anguish that Helen McCrory has seeping through her “stiff upper lip” is palpable.
We see the easier options that she has available to her, yet we also understand why she chooses not to take them. There is lovely interaction between her and Peter Sullivan, who plays her estranged husband. It could be so tempting to go back to him, but it would not be honest. On the other hand, her love for Freddie will ruin both of them in long term.
In the end, she is strong and does not take any of the easy ways out, but I have to say, this is one of the saddest happy endings you will ever see.