After The Dance (2010) Theater


In this National Theatre production Benedict plays David Scott-Fowler, a troubled historian trapped between the love of two women

From 8 June to 11 August 2010 Benedict Cumberbatch took on the role of David Scott-Fowler in Terence Rattigan’s play After the Dance. The National Theatre production, directed by Thea Sharrock, was only the second revival after its original premiere in 1939, and was praised by the audience as well as by critics.

The production received awards for “Best Revival”, “Best Actress” and “Best Actor in a Supporting Role” at the Laurence Olivier Awards 2011.

What is happening in After the Dance?:
Mayfair 1939. David Scott-Fowler was a respected historian before he dashed all hopes of further success with his drinking problems. Narcissistic, he never fully devoted himself to his marriage with Joan. Joan, however, loves David with all her heart, but to fit in with the social rules of the time and to meet the expectations of her husband, she hides her feelings behind a mask of makeup and prude happiness. Like the self-centered young people who they once were, they continue to live a life of gossip and party.
In this setting suddenly bursts Helen, a pseudo-intelligent, young woman – and friend of David’s younger cousin. She falls in love with David, and makes it her business to change his lifestyle, to free him from Joan and to rekindle the historian in him. As if this is not already bad enough for Joan, David also begins to fall in love with the young woman.


Thea Sharrocks production can be seen at the National Theatre Archive.
To book an appointment:NT Archive.
The original script by Terence Rattigan is available on Amazon here.

More information: Photos /The Fall and Rise of Terence Rattigan

“The individual performances are excellent. Benedict Cumberbatch ­conveys not just the surface ­smoothness of the self-destructive David but also the intelligence of a man who ­realises he is a wastrel.”The Guardian

“Benedict Cumberbatch is compelling as the alcoholic husband who sees a chance of a better life but realises he cannot bring it to fruition. One leaves the theatre convinced that a neglected classic has finally been honoured.”The Telegraph

“But the star turns come from Nancy Carroll and Benedict Cumberbatch. Initially cool and crisp, Carroll becomes heart-rendingly brilliant as Joan’s world disintegrates. And while Cumberbatch’s physical pose is remarkable, it’s his voice that is the real marvel: dense as treacle, but unerringly precise.”London Evening Standard

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