Love in Idleness is the third in Terence Rattigan’s unofficial trilogy of war plays (after Flare Path and While the Sun Shines). It is published here alongside an earlier version of the play, Less Than Kind, which was never staged during Rattigan’s lifetime.
Michael, eighteen, returns to wartime London from schooling in Canada, brimming with youthful left-wing convictions. Reunited with his mother, he is alarmed as he begins to realise that she is the mistress of a leading member of the war cabinet. Sparks fly between the idealistic younger man and the pragmatic politician, while the mother is torn between them…
Rattigan’s first version of this comedy, Less Than Kind, was never staged and never published until 2011, the centenary of his birth. Instead it was substantially rewritten at the behest of the Lunts, who were to star in the premiere production, and it opened in the West End in 1944 as Love in Idleness.
This volume presents both plays in full so that readers may judge for themselves which is the better. Less Than Kind was premiered in London in January 2011.
This edition includes an authoritative introduction by Dan Rebellato, a biographical sketch and chronology.