Terence Rattigan has very quickly become one of my favourite playwrights, his dialogue is so intelligent, witty and meaty, his characterisation so dynamic, complex and real and the storytelling so beautifully constructed.
'After the Dance' is not as well known as 'The Winslow Boy', 'Separate Tables', 'The Browning Version' (my favourite) or even 'The Deep Blue Sea, and it is a shame because it has everything that is so good about Rattigan and a perfect mix of the tragic and the comic. There are not many productions/adaptations of 'After the Dance', so this production has to make do. And it does so splendidly, of the Terence Rattigan Collection available on DVD (which is an essential buy) it is one of the best ones along with 'The Winslow Boy' and 'Separate Tables'.
It is handsomely produced and costumed and beautifully filmed with a fresher look than some of the older productions on the set. The comic elements are genuinely funny, more so than that of 'French Without Tears', and the tragic elements are equally moving, both are also balanced wonderfully. There is also plenty of insight, provoking of thought and meat as is usual of Rattigan's writing and when his plays are performed and adapted well.
Storytelling never becomes dull, entertains but also packs a punch emotionally, while the whole thing is very nicely directed and paced. The only criticism of the performance actually is that the leads Anton Rodgers and Gemma Jones are too old for the roles (which slightly hurts the plausibility somewhat), but this is compensated hugely by that both give simply brilliant performances, Jones in particular is very moving. The supporting cast are similarly excellent in a production that doesn't forget to make them interesting.
In conclusion, another Rattigan winner and tragicomedy as it should be done. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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