Terence Rattigan’s debut, First Episode, gets revival at Jermyn Street Theatre

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Jermyn Street Theatre is staging the first ever revival of Terence Rattigan’s debut work, First Episode.

First Episode is the story of a movie star’s appearance in a student play and is inspired by events from Rattigan’s own time in 1930s Oxford.

Set in the university at that time, the story charts the relationship of best friends Tony and David when Tony becomes besotted with the beautiful star Margot Gresham and a triangle of rival affections is created.

Both touching and uproariously funny, First Episode is one of the earliest plays to deal explicitly with homosexuality, and, for lovers of Rattigan’s work, it marks the start of the writer’s glittering career.

Written with fellow undergraduate, Philip Heiman, and originally staged at a small experimental theatre in Kew in 1933, First Episode transferred to the West End and then to Broadway in 1934. Rattigan was just 22-years-old.

After the success of First Episode, he went on to become one of the foremost playwrights and screenwriters of the 20th century, with work including Flare Path, The Browning Version, The Deep Blue Sea, French Without Tears, Separate Tables, The Winslow Boy, Cause Celebre, and After the Dance.

Many of his plays have been revived in recent years at the National Theatre, Old Vic, and in the West End. He was knighted in 1971 and died in 1977.

The production plays at Jermyn Street Theatre from October 28-November 22 before transferring to Simpkins Lee Theatre, Lady Margaret Hall, Norham Gardens, Oxford for performances on November 28 & 29.

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