Arts > An entertaining shotgun marriage

06 April 2017 | by Mark Lawson

An entertaining shotgun marriage



Depending on how you look at it, the latest production of a work by the great English playwright Sir Terence Rattigan (1911-77), author of The Winslow Boy and The Deep Blue Sea, is a case of two old plays or one new script.

In 1944, Rattigan wrote Less Than Kind, boldly recasting Hamlet as an English domestic comedy, in which a teenage student, politically angry and radical, returns from Second World War evacuation to find his widowed mother living with a man who insults his dad’s memory. The plot does not exactly follow Shakespeare – there are no physical ghosts and the lover did not kill the dad – but the son tactically feigns madness.


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