Dominic Rowan (Graham) and also Catherine Tate (Michelle) in Under The Blue Sky. Photograph: Tristram Kenton


You are watching: Under the blue sky

Dominic Rowan (Graham) and Catherine Tate (Michelle) in Under The Blue Sky. Photograph: Tristram Kenton

David Eldridge"s play begins with one IRA bomb exploding in ~ Canary powhatan in 1996, however in his flat surrounding teacher Nick (Chris O"Dowd) is around to drop his very own bombshell on his besotted colleague, Helen (Lisa Dillon).

He intends to soon leave the Leytonstone comprehensive where lock both teach, and Helen, v whom the dallies there is no making any serious commitment, to take it up a write-up in a boy Essex windy school. She seizes the ethical high ground, but quickly relinquishes it to her own emotional neediness. The rest of Eldridge"s cleverly structured play each other Schnitzler"s fin de siècle sexual daisy chain, La Ronde, but also suggests a series of reverberations from that initial explosion.

Nick and also Helen never show up again, however they haunt the subsequent two scenes. In the first, Michelle (Catherine Tate), a teacher at the Essex school, has been dumped by Nick and is taking her revenge by resting with Graham (Dominic Rowan), "the the very least sought-after member the the staffroom". Yet with sexual failure and also humiliation, things rotate nasty and before long "maths teacher" is bandied together an insult, and fantasy transforms to violence as the bedroom i do not care a battlefield. The is the results of another war, more than 80 year previously, that educate the last scene, again between two teachers, anne (Francesca Annis), and Robert (Nigel Lindsay) that is two decades her junior and also who teaches in ~ the very same Essex institution of the prior 2 encounters. Anne"s aunt had actually an unconsummated love affair through a soldier who died in the very first world war, which infected the remainder of she life, and also Anne and Robert"s suppressed and also unresolved desires threaten to rotate their partnership sceptic too.

Those that complain the a absence of serious plays in the West end should watch no further. Of course, although that is brand-new writing, it"s no actually new, having actually premiered in ~ the imperial Court upstairs in 2000.

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Yet the emotions here are never second hand, and the final segment - exquisitely performed by Annis and also Lindsay - is together compassionate, luminous and also delicately created an check of the difficulty of acknowledging and also embracing love as you are ever before likely come see.

In an era as soon as all our personal relationships are carried out in the zero of wars being fought in ours name, Eldridge"s play takes on brand-new resonance; and also if Anna Mackmim"s manufacturing doesn"t yet rather negotiate the balance between pain and also comedy, this quietly thoughtful evening reminds that the wars performed behind close up door doors also maim and mutilate.