The Winslow Boy
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Kim Taylor

Ross Valley Players take you away to a time in England where a middle class family takes on the British Empire. Loosely based on a famous court case in 1908, The Winslow Boy, written by Terence Rattigan, tells the story of a young cadet from the Royal Naval College at Osborne who was accused of stealing a money order for five shillings, about two US dollars. Ronnie Winslow (Dylan Saunders and Ben Fred) is Rattiganís fictional version of the real life character. The drama he created adds several dimensions to the real life story.

But whatís truly beautiful is how naturally the cast and crew of Ross Valley Players draw the audience in to this family and their time and place in history. Excellent set and costume design, by Ken Rowland and Dhyanis respectively, puts the audience in the Winslow home in the early 1900s. Once the audience is transported to the time and place, the flawless performances of all the actors draws them into the familyís conflict.

While the entire family makes tremendous sacrifices to prove Ronnieís innocence, every member of the family feels the sacrifices are worth the price. Ronnieís mother Grace (Stephanie Saunders Ahlberg) accuses her husband Arthur (Alex Ross) and daughter Catherine (Tweed Conrad) of taking things too far. Indeed, even Ronnie loses interest as the court case drags on. But to Arthur and Catherine, itís more than just proving Ronnie is innocent, itís a matter of preserving the integrity of the Winslow family at any price. It doesnít matter to Arthur that he spends all the familyís money to defend his son nor does it matter to Catherine that the trial has cost her a prime marriage prospect. To them, preserving the familyís integrity gives purpose to their lives and everything else pales to insignificance.

Donít miss this excellent production of classic theatre. Though there is no holiday theme in The Winslow Boy, itís strong moral makes it great family entertainment this holiday season. For tickets call (415) 456-9555.

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