Wednesday 12 June 2024

Accolade - Review

Theatre Royal, Windsor


Written by Emlyn Williams
Directed by Sean Mathias

Honeysuckle Weeks and Ayden Callaghan

A fusion of chauvinism, corruption, compromise and complicity, Accolade is an intriguing piece of period British drama from 75 years ago.

Ayden Callaghan plays Will Trenting, an acclaimed writer whose knighthood has just been announced. We learn early on however that Trenting frequents suburban orgies, and is drawn to sexual promiscuity like a moth to a flame. Honeysuckle Weeks is his wife Rona, another complex character who is aware of her husband's conduct. To say much more of the narrative would be to spoil, save for the arrival of Narinder Samra as Daker who it transpires is in a position to expose Trenting's conduct, some of which has been criminal.

Emlyn Williams's script is a pastiche of an observation of England's class system - almost like a diluted Pygmalion - and there is fine work across the company, notably from Jamie Hogarth as the Trentings's butler/driver, Sara Crowe as Rona's friend Marian and Gavin Fowler and Sarah Twomey as the roguish Harold and Phyllis. For the most part the dialogue sparkles, but seen from our more cynical 21st-century perspective, Williams' ending is perhaps a little flawed.

Sean Mathias has coaxed well nuanced interpretations from his company and Julie Godfrey's set and costume designs are a glorious tribute to 1950. Shortly to tour England's southern counties, Accolade makes for an evening of charming provocative theatre.

Runs until 15th June and then on tour 
Photo credit: Jack Merriman

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