Cause Célèbre (play)

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First edition (publ. Hamish Hamilton, 1978)

Cause Célèbre or A Woman of Principle is a 1975 radio play by the English author Terence Rattigan. It was inspired by the trial of Alma Rattenbury and her teenage lover in 1935 for the murder of her third husband Francis Rattenbury and first broadcast on the BBC on 27 October 1975. Alma was played by Diana Dors. Rattigan was then commissioned to rewrite it into a stage play ready to be produced in Autumn 1976, but his terminal cancer and casting problems meant he was only able to start work in January 1977, alongside Robin Midgely. This stage version premiered on 4 July 1977 at Her Majesty's Theatre in London.

A 1987 television version of the stage play starred Helen Mirren as Alma. The stage play itself was revived at the Old Vic from March to June 2011 to mark Rattigan's centenary, with Alma played by Anne-Marie Duff and Edith Davenport by Niamh Cusack. A new production of the radio play was aired again by BBC Radio 4 on 25 June 2011 directed by Thea Sharrock with original music by Adrian Johnston.

Old Vic cast

  • Joan Webster ..... Lucy Black
  • Francis Rattenbury .... Timothy Carlton
  • John Davenport .... Simon Chandler
  • Croom-Johnson ..... Richard Clifford
  • Christopher .... Oliver Coopersmith
  • Christopher (Understudy) - Oscar Dunbar
  • Edith Davenport .... Niamh Cusack
  • Alma Rattenbury ..... Anne-Marie Duff
  • Ewen Montagu ..... Rory Fleck-Byrne
  • Tony Davenport .... Freddie Fox
  • Irene Riggs .... Jenny Galloway
  • Judge ...... Patrick Godfrey
  • O'Connor .... Nicholas Jones
  • George Wood .......Tommy McDonnell
  • Stella Morrison ....... Lucy Robinson
  • Clerk of the court .....Tristan Shepherd
  • Casswell ....... Richard Teverson
  • Wardress ....... Sarah Waddell
  • Sergeant Bagwell ....... Michael Webber
  • Coroner ....... Tristram Wymark


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