Review: Producers bring flair to Rattigan’s wartime drama Flare Path

Flare Path at Buxton Opera House from February 10 to 13.
Flare Path at Buxton Opera House from February 10 to 13.

Terence Rattigan’s classic wartime romance Flare Path has landed at Buxton Opera House.

Elegantly produced by the company behind Birdsong, it is a deeply moving portrait of people at war while also being funny.

The story is set in wartime Britain in 1942 and is based in a drab hotel frequented by the pilots and crew of a nearby RAF station where the stiff upper lips and tensions are relieved by alcohol and banter. The men have planned to spend a weekend here with their wives.

RAF pilot Teddy (played by the talented Daniel Fraser) and his glamorous former actress wife Patricia (starring Hedydd Dylan) have their marriage tested by the surprise arrival of her ex-lover, the famous film star Peter Kyle (Lynden Edwards). Having rekindled the affair Patricia is preparing to break the news to her husband that she is leaving him.

Meanwhile the Squadron Leader (played by Graham Seed) arrives and an urgent bombing over Germany is ordered. Patricia finds herself at the centre of a passionate conflict of love and loyalty which is as unpredictable as the war in the skies.

Written in the darkest days of war the moral dilemma lies in Patricia’s decision as to which of the two men needs her most.

The play ends on a happy note while in the closing moments we know there will be many other dangerous missions for the characters.

Artistically it is very good, great sound effects and the lighting reproducing the parallel strips of an aerodrome flare path.

Flare Path is running at Buxton Opera House until Saturday, February 13.

The production will be staged at The Grand Theatre, Blackpool, from February 23 to 27.