Winslow story relevant after century
Courtenay Little Theatre's spring production The Winslow Boy will open at the Sid Williams Theatre on April 11 and run until April 20.
Directed by Bill Walton, this well-written play dramatizes pre-World War One England and the media frenzy that erupted over a father's fight to clear his son's name.
Terence Rattigan wrote the play in 1945, basing it on the actual facts of the case against a young naval cadet charged with stealing a five shilling postal order.
The play closely follows the story of the boy's father and sister, who are obsessed with proving the young boy's innocence at any cost to themselves, which results in the case turning into a national headline.
Young Ronnie Winslow (played by Christian Taylor) attends Osborne, the Royal Naval Preparatory school, and is summarily sent home, found guilty of stealing and cashing the postal order. This expulsion prompts the ensuing battle between the father's personal principles and the established military order.
Veteran actor Tony Arnold, as Arthur Winslow, is suitably strong and forthright, able to show concern for his son while still maintaining the staid Edwardian facade.
The other family members (Alana Gowdy as the mother Grace Winslow, Kari Larsen as the suffragette sister Catherine, and James Coates as Ronnie's elder brother Dickie) have to make sacrifices and endure public ridicule.
Supporting roles are played by Wes Buckle, as the renowned barrister Sir Robert Morton, Jeannine Taylor as the faithful though out-spoken maid Violet, Greg Knights, as Catherine's fiancé John, and Terry Penney as the family solicitor Desmond.
Rounding out this strong Courtenay Little Theatre cast, which combines the talents of young and mature actors, is Valerie Macdonald in a cameo role as a somewhat scatterbrained journalist and Chris Taylor as a cameraman.
The story is as relevant today as it was a hundred years ago. Fighting for what one believes is just, is central to our civilized existence but the author has written dialogue full of sensitivity and humour.
Though The Winslow Boy is set in an age of strict codes of conduct and manners, audiences will relate to a father's belief in his son and doing what has to be done, regardless of the cost, financial or otherwise.
Tickets are available at the Sid Williams box office (www.sidwilliamstheatre.com).
— Courtenay Little Theatre