In Praise of Love
by Terence Rattigan
June 1982
~ Directed by Susan Hitch ~

In Praise of Love, originally entitled After Lydia, is the first part of a 1973 double-bill play by the English playwright Terence Rattigan (the second half being Before Dawn, a burlesque of the opera Tosca). It was the penultimate play he wrote.

The play's action was loosely inspired by the true-life relationship between the actor Rex Harrison and his actress wife Kay Kendall. In the play, the couple are transformed into the egotistical left-wing literary critic Sebastian and his East European refugee wife Lydia. During the Second World War, some 30 years previously, Sebastian had served in military intelligence while the part-Jewish Lydia was with the Resistance and then survived on her wits and her feminine charms; each is shown using the aptitude for deception developed then to try to protect the other from the knowledge that Lydia is suffering from a terminal illness. Rounding out the cast are Mark, a best-selling popular novelist and a friend of Sebastian's, who has long carried a torch for Lydia, and Joey, the couple's 20-year-old son, himself an aspiring writer, who is in rebellion against his father's overbearing manner and professed Marxist views.

Margaret HakannsonLydia Crutwell
Lou MonzeglioSebastian Crutwell
Graham KilnerMark Walters
Mark CrowtherJoey Crutwell