Flare Path

2 Jun

I went to see Flare Path yesterday afternoon at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. It’s a play by Terence Rattigan, set in a hotel near a RAF airbase in Lincolnshire during World War II and  involves a love triangle between a pilot (played by Harry Hadden-Paton) , his actress wife (Sienna Miller) and a famous film star (James Purefoy). It is directed by Trevor Nunn.

The cast also includes Sheridan Smith as Countess Skriczevinsky, Mark Dexter as her husband Flying Officer Count Skriczevinsky, Joe Armstrong as Sergeant Miller, Emma Handy as his wife Maudie, Sarah Crowden as the hotel owner Mrs Oakes,  Matthew Tennyson as Percy and Clive Wood as Squadron Leader Swanson.

I thoroughly enjoyed the play and more than one scene moved me to tears.

While I enjoyed all performances, I thought there were some inconsistencies in it. I wasn’t too sure about Sienna Miller, I really liked her in some scenes, but lacked charisma in others. In the end I didn’t really care much about her character, apart from the impact her decision had on Hadden-Paton’s Teddy Graham and Purefoy’s Peter Kyle.

It took me some time to warm to Harry Hadden-Paton’s character, but I really    enjoyed his performance in Act II and his emotional break-down in Act II was one of the highlights of the play.

James Purefoy gave a very believable portrayal of the aging film star Peter Kyle, though I didn’t find the character himself very likeable.

Sheridan Smith and especially Mark Dexter were wonderful and provided some excellent comic moments as well as emotional ones.

I was really impressed by Joe Armstrong, his performance was probably my favourite. I liked watching him even during the scenes in which the focus was not on him, because he always stayed in character and I just found his acting very honest and moving. Emma Handy as his wife added some comic relief to a sometimes rather heavy play, as did Sarah Crowden as Mrs Oakes.

Matthew Tennyson, who graduates from London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in July, was wonderful as Percy, especially in his scenes with Sheridan Smith in the second act. Definitely someone to watch out for!

Clive Wood was very believable as Squadron Leader Swanson and I found his character very likeable.

I’m glad I saw this play and the time just flew by. It finishes its run next Saturday, 11th June, so you better be quick if you want to catch it. And if you haven’t seen it yet, you really should!

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