REVIEW: The Winslow Boy at Louth’s Riverhead Theatre

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THERE’S turbulence in the Winslow household as the day-to-day Edwardian life of cucumber sandwiches, suffragettes and the bunny hug are interrupted in an attempt to ‘let right be done’.

Ronnie Winslow has been accused of stealing a postal order whilst away at his naval college and his father Arthur is not prepared to let the case be dropped. But is Ronnie telling the truth? Can justice be done?

The Winslow Boy by Terence Rattigan, directed by Brian Cliffe and performed by Louth Playgoers, is richly filled with an attention to detail that depicts the Edwardian era intricately.

The set and props together make for such naturalism that it is as if looking into a doll’s house and, combined with the costume - pinned right down to the authentic colours of suffragette clothing - harks back to the splendour of a bygone age. The plot itself, equally detailed, sweeps the audience away and immerses us in a world where social attitudes are everything. The Winslow family is presided over by Ronnie’s father, Arthur, played with conviction by Bruce Borquin, and the maternal Grace, performed with charm and a touch of flamboyance by Linda Goodman Powell.

Liz Gardner-Clarke’s portrayal of their daughter, embodies all the characteristic strength of a suffragette, although a softer side to Catherine is revealed as the plot unfolds. The Winslow brothers are Dickie, played by William Weir, whose comical stage presence is a joy to watch, and of course The Winslow Boy himself, youngest brother, Ronnie, played by Eddie Winney.

Eddie’s RP accent is commendable, which helps to make his performance as a young boy schooled in naval college at the turn of the century all the more convincing.

The family fits perfectly into the Edwardian picture along with the long-serving and loyal maid Violet, played with warmth by Di Flower.

It’s not long before life is disrupted and social standing for the Winslows is threatened by Ronnie’s conviction for stealing.

It is Sir Robert Morton, in the shape of Chris Winney, who steps suavely in to restore order and fight the case in court. Thrown into the chaos is the double act from a women’s newspaper, eager to get their hands on the scandal.

Hazel Allen is a scatty and eccentric Miss Barns, accompanied by Fred, Mel French, her photographer.

Keith Lines, as straight laced fiancé to Catherine Winslow John Watherstone, is also swept up as the situation escalates.

Along with atmospheric projections of footage from the time, music of the period and charmingly authentic dancing, we too are whisked off into an Edwardian world painted so vividly by Rattigan and delicately embellished by the cast and crew, as we become lost in the case of the Winslow Boy.

Performances: 7.30pm each night until Saturday March 26.

Box Office: 01507 600350.

Review by Stefanie Appleton.