Deep Blue Sea
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Andy Robinson's set design for this production was a clever combination of cut-away walls, boxed-off areas for the kitchen and bedroom and an excellent replica of an old gas fire.

The play, by Terence Rattigan, deals with strong emotions, scandals that had serious effects within its 1952 setting and the claustrophobia of all-encompassing love.

Chase has a growing reputation for such demanding drama, which has been building since its debut in November, 2003.

Although there is a cast of eight, the lion's share of the lines are spoken by Hester Collyer - who left her husband almost, we discover, on an instant's decision, to go to Canada with Freddie Page - a charming, immature egotist who is out of depth in their relationship. Clare Gollop brought understanding and perceptiveness to the role of Hester and was confident in her lines, moves and interpretation.

With Hester as the centre, so all the other characters circle round her and Ms Gollop proved a lynch pin.

Characterisations from the whole cast were good. Judy Abbott was the caring gossip of a landlady who fussed about putting things in order. Living in the same block of flats are Philip and Ann Welch, whose actions start the play. Both were initially a little slow but got going as their first-night nerves melted away. Becky Owen made a timid wife of Ann, curious about her neighbour. Arron Wright's clipped BBC vowels were perfect for the part of Philip and his slightly shallow character gained depth as he returned to Hester as Freddie's messenger to collect his bags.

Michel de Dadelson made the perfect Mr Miller - enigmatic, practical and caring. He dealt with Miller's own secret with calm acceptance.

William is the husband whom Hester leaves for Freddie. John Talbot brought sincerity and a sort of withheld pleading to the role and also stepped in to co-direct with Denis Steer. Too busy, perhaps, to have a haircut, the length of which was wholly out-of-character for the 1950s. And he a judge, too.

Barry Gollop brought little-boy-lost appeal to the part of Freddie Page - almost growing up, but not quite. As a drunk I was not totally convinced he had downed the best part of a bottle of scotch, but his timing for his final farewell was perfect

Jackie Jackson is one of Freddie's old RAF buddies and Malcolm Buckoke showed him as having matured since leaving the airfield.

Costumes were well researched and props apt, apart from the modern telephone book which stood out like a sore thumb.

Small niggles cannot, however, detract from the powerful drama presented so ably by Chase.

Theo Spring