Another Country

Another Country

Trafalgar Studios
14 Whitehall

7.30pm, mats Thurs, Sat 2.30pm

Runs: 2hrs 30 mins with one interval

TICKETS: 0844 871 7632

Review by Carole Woddis of performance seen April 4, 2014:

It seems to be a given that a production of Another Country spawns a whole new generation of young male actors. So it was with Julian Mitchell’s original production which introduced Rupert Everett in the iconic role of Bennett, the overtly gay sixth form student in Mitchell’s 1930s tale of the making of a very particular kind of British spy.

Loosely based around the now notorious Cambridge group, Philby, Burgess, McLean and Blunt, if Waterloo was said to have been won on the playing fields of Eton, Mitchell pins his colours closer to home, arguing that the hypocrisy endemic in our celebrated public school system produced paradoxically, the outsider and the radical through emotional forces.

Another Country is a highly intelligent, almost dialectical drama showing this development due not only to the prevailing political storms of their day but more personally by the ostracism and response to homosexuality by the establishment.

Jeremy Herrin’s fine, assiduously recreated Chichester production with its opening rendering of `I vow to thee my country’, its wood panelled library, cream cricketing flannels and grey schoolboy suits, shows how much, far from the past being `another country’, is still with us today. Homosexuality may have come in from the cold, communism discredited but the emotional scars inflicted by the public school ethos remain clear for all to see in our governing classes. The English public school remains the incubator par excellence of inculcating both a sense of elite destiny and sly deception.

As the rebarbative Bennett, the newly Guildhall graduated Rob Callender carries all the swagger and precocious brilliance of his predecessor whilst the Attenborough dynasty can hail another recruit in Will Attenborough’s assured Judd, the studious and already committed Marxist reading his Karl Marx by torchlight and arguing at every opportunity for the irrelevance of personal feelings in the new world being born.

They make a perfect contrast. But here is also a host of other recognisable types – Fowler the sadistic bully, Barclay the vacillating liberal , Wharton the terrified junior. And even the older man, the mentor in the shape of guest lecturer, Vaughan Cunningham, suave, erudite and persuasive sensualist.
Still so relevant…

Another Country
By Julian Mitchel

Judd: Will Attenborough
Bennett: Rob Callender
Devenish: Mark Donald
Menzies: James Parris
Fowler: Rowan Polonski
Delahay: Cai Brigden
Barclay: Mark Quartley
Sanderson: Dario Coates
Wharton: Bill Milner
Vaughan Cunningham: Julian Wadham

Dario Coates (Judd);
Rowan Polonski (Bennett);
Patrick Fleming (Fowler, Barclay, Delahay, Devenish);
Christopher Lakewood (Wharton, Menzies, Sanderson);
Andy Hawthorne (Vaughan Cunningham)

Director: Jeremy Herrin
Designer: Peter McKintosh
Lighting Designer: Paul Pyant
Sound Designer: Fergus O’Hare
Casting Director: Julia Horan
Associate Director: Hannah Banister
Associate Designer: Simon Wells

First perf of this production, Sept 4, 2013, Theatre Royal, Bath.
First perf at Minerva Theatre, Chichester, Sept 19, 2013
First perf at Trafalgar Studios, London, March 26, 2014

First perf of this production at Trafalgar Studios, London, April 1, 2014