I'm chairing a study day at the National Theatre on 15 May 2-5pm on British theatre in the 1940s to coincide with the new production of Rodney Ackland's extraordinary Absolute Hell. The play premiered in the early 1950s under the title The Pink Room and was denounced by critics and rival producers. 'Binkie' Beaumont called it a libel against this nation and Harold Hobson wrote a vicious review declaring 'the audience had the impression of being present, if not at the death of talent, at least at its very serious illness'. It was a cruel remark and it killed Ackland's confidence. He pretty well stopped writing for three decades. It was only in the late eighties when a revived and uncensored version of the play - its polymorphous perversity restored - went on at the Orange Tree under the new title Absolute Hell. It was then televised and then came to the National with a lead performance by Judi Dench (who had also taken the part on TV). It's one of the great rediscoveries of that forgotten period.
I'll be talking about that and other gems of the period with invited guests and actors from the Absolute Hell company, who will perform extracts from the plays.
Tickets are £30 with concessions at £20 and a special concessionary rate for students at £7.50. You can book them HERE.