The emergence of two fine young actors will doubtless be the lasting legacy of director Jeremy Herrin’s revival of Julian Mitchell’s Another Country.
It’s a play/film with a track record for launching the big names; and Herrin’s ability - seen in the Minerva a while back in South Downs - to nurture young talent looks likely to do the same here.
The play is set in the weird and utterly-ghastly world of public schools in the 1930s - a world rocked by scandalous activity in the school dark room, followed by a suicide, hardly a surprise in the bullying, hierarchical regime which prevails.
It’s about finding ways to cope.
Will Attenborough is superb as Judd, the determined, compassionate Marxist who buries his head in a book, carries around a bust of Lenin and yet movingly, instinctively comforts the younger, more vulnerable Wharton, touchingly played by Bill Milner.
But the night probably belongs to Rob Callender, hugely impressively on his professional debut as Bennett, indolently and wittily gay but not quite as detached as he would like to appear.
Bennett - loosely based on the future spy Guy Burgess - gives an hilarious description of his father’s coitus tragically interruptus; poignantly, he envisions his sad future as a homosexual in the current climate.
The play is about the betrayals which leave him poised to betray his country, and Callender, making light of everything until then in his flamboyant campness, shows the change come over him quite thrillingly.
Much of the play, in its depiction of the daft rules and jargon of the self-important world of the public school, is frankly incomprehensible - which is presumably the point.
Mitchell gives us a wholly-unnatural world - the best possible advertisement for all the sanity of the state school system. Thank heavens I went to a comprehensive.