THE SLAVES OF SOLITUDE: ★★★★ FROM THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

Posted on 5 November 2017. By: Robert Gore-Langton

Posted in: Announcements

THE SLAVES OF SOLITUDE: ★★★★ FROM THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

This loving adaptation – by Nicholas Wright – of Patrick Hamilton’s forgotten novel is set in 1943 in a suicidally dull boarding house in Henley-on-Thames, away from the Blitz. 

It’s the story of the timorous thirtysomething Miss Roach, whose romance with a flirty Yank lieutenant is met with competition from a fellow female resident, an ageing German refugee sexpot. Much of the action is set in the dining room, with its small flock of old ladies – one of the evening’s chief joys.

Here, the ghastly resident Mr Thwaites (Clive Francis, fabulous) rules with his mock- Tudor lingo: ‘Hast thou not been seen in a hostelry with a young fraulein of Hunnish heritage?’ etc. 

Blending cruelty and comedy, wartime is evoked not just in the cliched Spam fritters and pink gins: you can feel the residents’ mustn’t-grumble loneliness seeping into the wallpaper. 

Fluidly directed by Jonathan Kent, it all rests heavily on a rich, performance from Fenella Woolgar as the prim Miss Roach, whose life is disturbed by a violent, erotic love. An absorbing evening of soup plates and quivering hearts.

To read the full review click here to visit The Mail on Sunday online.

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