BY JOHN WHITING
16 October 2002 — 23 November 2002
Winner of the 1951 Festival of Britain Playwriting Competition, abused by the critics, this play is now seen as a modern masterpiece - a play before its time, the play that paved the way for Pinter, Bond and Arden. Revived in 1965, it has not been seen on the London stage since.
Paul Southam is a poet and a writer who twenty-five years ago was driven into "exile". He now lives with his granddaughter Stella, her husband, and a man of all work, in a large house on the outskirts of a hostile village. It is Paul's 83rd birthday and a bright young poet of the day is coming to take him to London, to a dinner in his honour, which Stella hopes will rehabilitate him and bring the family much-needed income. But when three soldiers escape from a nearby detention camp, events overtake them all.
The Orange Tree premiered Whiting's No More A-Roving in 1987 and had a huge success in 1992 and 1993 with A Penny for a Song.