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The Deep Blue Sea

by Terence Rattigan

Final Performance 21 Sep 2016
Running Time: 2 hours 30 mins inc 20 min interval

The Deep Blue Sea

Terence Rattigan’s devastating masterpiece contains one of the greatest female roles in contemporary drama.

Helen McCrory and director Carrie Cracknell reunite following the acclaimed Medea in 2014.


A flat in Ladbroke Grove, West London. 1952.

When Hester Collyer is found by her neighbours in the aftermath of a failed suicide attempt, the story of her tempestuous affair with a former RAF pilot and the breakdown of her marriage to a High Court judge begins to emerge. With it comes a portrait of need, loneliness and long-repressed passion.

Behind the fragile veneer of post-war civility burns a brutal sense of loss and longing.

Get the playtext from the National Theatre bookshop

5 star rating

This production is a stand-out. Helen McCrory is fantastic. Carrie Cracknell directs with total assurance.

The Times
5 star rating

Stunning. Exquisitely sad. Beautifully judged.

Time Out
4 star rating

Helen McCrory blazes.

4 star rating

Achingly good. Helen McCrory delivers one of the performances of the year.

Evening Standard
4 star rating

Helen McCrory floors you.

Sunday Times
4 star rating

Helen McCrory is in a different league

4 star rating

Intoxicating. Splendid new production.

Daily Telegraph
4 star rating

Deeply moving.

The Stage
4 star rating

Tom Burke is excellent.

Daily Telegraph

Production gallery

Terence Rattigan the outcast

Published 4 May 2016

Sir Terence Rattigan in his suite at Claridges Hotel London

The Deep Blue Sea: Carrie Cracknell and Tom Scutt

This new production of Terence Rattigan’s play, The Deep Blue Sea, is discussed by the director and the designer.

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The Deep Blue Sea rehearsal gallery

Digital Programme

Explore video interviews with director Carrie Cracknell and exclusive articles about the play - in the digital programme.

Currently available for iPad and iPhone. Available to purchase via the free Backstage app.

Purchase now from the App store

The Deep Blue Sea Digital Programme

Helen McCrory on The Deep Blue Sea

The actor reflects on the challenges and rewards of playing Hester Collyer in The Deep Blue Sea by Terence Rattigan.

More info


James Alper
Mrs Elton
Marion Bailey
Katy Brittain
Freddie Page
Tom Burke
Philip Welch
Hubert Burton
Jackie Jackson
Adetomiwa Edun
Elsie Fallon
Nick Figgis
Mr Miller
Nick Fletcher
Ann Welch
Yolanda Kettle
Andrew Lewis
Hester Collyer
Helen McCrory
William Collyer
Peter Sullivan

Production team

Ticket prices

Mon – Thu & all matinees
£60, £52, £39, £29, £15
Fri & Sat evening
£65, £56, £44, £31, £18

Photography (Helen McCrory) by Dean Rogers