‘I don’t know how I became so filled with hate. I find it shocking that I did. Somebody said to me that war affects us in all kinds of ways, and that drinking is only one of them. Perhaps hating people is another. Perhaps sex is too.’
1943, Henley-on-Thames. Miss Roach is forced by the war to flee London for the Rosamund Tea Rooms boarding house, a place as grey and lonely as its residents. From the safety of these new quarters, her war effort now consists of a thousand petty humiliations, of which the most burdensome is sharing her daily life with the unbearable Mr Thwaites.
But a breath of fresh air arrives in the form of a handsome American lieutenant and things start to look distinctly brighter. Until a new boarder moves into the room next to Miss Roach’s – outwardly friendly, she soon starts upsetting the precarious balance in the house.
Nicholas Wright’s play The Slaves of Solitude weaves a fascinating blend of dark hilarity and melancholy from Patrick Hamilton’s much-loved story about an improbable heroine in wartime Britain. The play premiered at Hampstead Theatre, London, in October 2017.
‘Brilliantly transformed for the stage by Nicholas Wright… although there is some wonderful sly comedy from the start, [the play’s] strength is in a humane, rueful, oddly hopeful understanding of loneliness and of the way we try to make real connections… no character is all bad, nor all good; even the most minor of them, in fleetingly sketched moments, reveal both their handicap and their hope. It’s lovely’
‘[A] witty, evocative, gnarly human drama… the home front is a hotbed here as people who look like heroes or villains reveal themselves to be more complex while they make their small but crucial claims for territory… wonderful’
— The Times
‘Nicholas Wright’s adaptation captures the familiar emotional notes of Hamilton’s fiction, the pervading loneliness, the melancholy, the use of booze as a crutch and a shield’
— The Stage