While the Sun Shines (2016)

This play by Terrence Rattigan was written in 1943, and is set in that period – in the latter parts of the Second World War when London was awash with Allied soldiers not to mention a sailor or two. The action takes place over a 24-hour period, in Lord Harpenden’s chambers in ‘Albany’, a fancy apartment block off Piccadilly in London. The production was directed by Christopher Luscombe.

Alexandra Dowling as Lady Elizabeth and Rupert as Lt Mulvaney. Photo by Tristram Kenton
Alexandra Dowling as Lady Elizabeth and Rupert as Lieutenant Mulvaney. Photo by Tristram Kenton

Rupert plays an American lieutenant, Joe Mulvaney, who befriends the Earl of Harpenden (Rob Heaps) and becomes involved in various ways with the two women in Lord Harpenden’s life, Lady Elizabeth Randall (Alexandra Dowling) and Mabel Crum (Tamla Kari). Mix in a butler, Elizabeth’s father, and a French lieutenant, and the laughs are guaranteed.

The show was very funny, and amusing throughout, even when it became clear that hearts and future happiness were at stake. The set was gorgeously detailed. All the cast were great, and Rob was particularly touching in the early-morning scenes when he seems to have lost everything.

Rupert was his usual superb self, of course. He’s just too good at these romantic and comic roles! Not to mention that we get to see rather more of him than I’ve seen thus far … bonus!

It’s a really fun evening, and I’d recommend going if you’re at all interested.

I said hello to Rupert afterwards at the stage door, and he was his usual charming self. ♥ He is in the process of switching agents to Curtis Brown, though he’s not listed there yet. I also noticed that the theatre programme lists Rupert as appearing in People Just Do Nothing, a BBC 3 show. He said that it was only a couple of scenes – but that’s something new to watch out for. Hurrah!


the American Lieutenant Mulvaney, played by Rupert Young (who is like a young Liam Neeson)Nancy Connolly at the Bath Chronicle

very enjoyable summer holiday fare. Yes, it’s a period piece, but a good one. Thoroughly enjoyable. Mike Witton at Stage Talk Magazine

In this flurry of crossed-wires and mistaken identities Rattigan shows himself as a versatile writer and farceur. For those who have only caught his darker works, this is a welcome breath of fresh air.  Marion Sauvebois at the Swindon Advertiser

Rupert Young is excellent as Lieutenant Mulvaney, playing to the full the role of a stereotypical Yank bowled over by meeting English royalty, comically matched by his rival in love Lieutenant Colbert, played with Gallic passion and cod-French accent by Nicholas Bishop. Jackie Chappell at Listomania Bath

Rob Heaps’s charmingly puppyish Bobby is a cheerfully ineffectual individual who after four years in the Navy has failed to become an officer and who sees nothing wrong in his butler tying up his boots each morning, much to the incredulity of Rupert Young’s down-to-earth Joe. … Heaps is ceaselessly endearing as BobbyClaire Allfree in The Telegraph

The Telegraph review makes a great deal of Bobby’s uselessness, but I think his kindness, decency and cheerfulness more than outweigh these considerations. Just because the world was in transition to a more merit-based notion of leadership doesn’t mean that all the old-fashioned values need be thrown out with the bath water. I thought it also counted in Bobby and Elizabeth’s favour that they were perfectly prepared to do war-work and serve their country in rather more humble roles than they might have expected. (It’s worth noting that neither of them make use of her father’s Old Boys’ Network.) Not doomed, I think, when they are adjusting to change and accepting new roles.

… an utterly glorious, hilarious ride from start to finish, bringing a beautifully-directed ensemble cast together in perfect harmony and earning a big shiny gold star for director Christopher Luscombe, who has skilfully revived one of Rattigan’s lesser-known comedies with an invigorating blast of fresh air. All the action takes place in the young Earl of Harpenden‘s apartment in Albany, London (interestingly enough, the luxurious set is an exact replica of Rattigan’s actual apartment, in which Rattigan wrote the play). Melissa Blease in The Bath Magazine

The proceedings unfold over 24 hours in the Albany “chambers” of Bobby, the young Earl of Harpenden.  It’s the eve of his wedding and the show kicks off with a tease when, naked but for a bed-cover, a strapping American officer, Joe Mulvaney, emerges from the bedroom.  All innocent, of course. … it’s delectably droll to watch the whole chaotic sexual license of wartime exemplified by these rather tidily choreographed shenanigans. Romantic rivals who share a chaste bed, the stereotyped Allies are played with engaging panache by Heaps, Rupert Young and Nicholas Bishop as the French lieutenantPaul Taylor in the Independent

Immaculately staged and directed by Christopher Luscombe the cast are outstanding. … Nicholas Bishop (Lt Colbert) and Rupert Young (Lt. Mulvaney) provide much humour in their confusion and attempts to repair the damage. … This is a fine production; the humour is well balanced with impeccable timing whilst the physical theatre set pieces resulting in an absolute treat. Petra Schofield at Theatre Bath

It’s hilarious. Or, at least, this production directed by Christopher Luscombe is. … It is almost perfectly cast. Ann Treneman in The Times

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