Love in Idleness was originally meant to be called Less Than Kind and was written by Terence Rattigan back in 1944. Terence however was told that it was too political and so he toned it down and the play was released under the Love in Idleness. Trevor Nunn then went on to combine both the original play, with the play that was actually released, and gave us what we have today.
What is it all about?
The play is set towards the end of the World War 2 and is based in London. Olivia Brown who is a widow but now lover of millionaire Sir John Fletcher is living the high life in Mayfair. She gossips and drinks, and gossips and drinks! Problems however arise for Olivia when her 14 year old son whom she hasn’t seen in 4 years arrives home. When he arrives he has political views that contrast hugely with her partner. She predictably ends up in the middle trying to stop them from murdering each other.
What makes it so good?
This play is funny at times, in the most sophisticated way. Despite being set so long ago, the political theme running through Love in Idleness is still relevant today. With the play centering around contrasting views of two people, this is something that is still very much in the forefront of our society now, especially with the looming election!
What are the costumes and set like?
One thing I couldn’t get enough of through Love in Idleness was the costumes! With the era this was set, the outfits worn by the cast are beautifully made. I felt that the attention to detail in both the costumes and the set were impressive. So much had gone into making this really feel like the period of time it was set in.
How is the leading lady?
Eve Best as Olivia Brown was perfectly cast. She captured the personality of Olivia better than I think anyone else could have, making her very likeable.
Who should go and watch it?
With the sophisticated language used throughout the show, political humour, and length (it’s nearly three hours long!) this isn’t one for children. I actually went and saw this with my boyfriend and we ended up having some lengthy political debates at dinner afterwards! It is a good watch, but is quite intense too. There is a story with real meaning behind the jokes and sometimes ditsy characters that make it worth watching.
Where can I see it?
I actually think this is a really underestimated West End show that isn’t getting the attention it deserves. If you’d like to see it, it’s currently showing at the Apollo Theatre until the 1st of July. You can get tickets HERE. The nearest tube station to the Apollo Theatre is Piccadilly Circus.