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Osborne was the right man at the right time. His plays caught the national mood of Suez, CND and the New Left. In The Entertainer Archie’s daughter Jean has just been to a demonstration in Trafalgar Square. Above all, his plays spoke to young theatregoers: the duffel-coat generation who embraced the new culture of rock and roll, Soho cafés and irreverent comedy. Osborne seemed a spokesman for a new generation. “I agree that Look Back in Anger is likely to remain a minority taste,” wrote Tynan in 1956. “What matters, however, is the size of the minority. I estimate it at roughly 6,733,000, which is the number of people in this country between the ages of 20 and 30.”

The old guard suddenly seemed like dinosaurs. “I wish I knew why the hero is so dreadfully cross and what about?” said Noël Coward.

 “There I was in 1956, a reasonably successful playwright with Separate Tables just opened,” Rattigan said in 1977, just before he died, “and suddenly the whole Royal Court thing exploded, and Coward and Priestley and I were all dismissed, sacked by the critics.”

Tynan didn’t just criticise Rattigan’s plays. He tore into the social world Rattigan seemed to represent. In Rattigan’s plays, Tynan wrote, “the inhabitants belong to a social class derived from romantic novels and partly from the playwright’s vision of the leisured life he will lead after the play is a success — this being the only effort of imagination he is called on to make.”

Rattigan and Coward weren’t just old-fashioned and posh. They were homosexuals. Looking back at the theatre revolution of the 1950s, there is something distinctly homophobic about the way in which Coward, Rattigan and the impresario Binkie Beaumont were attacked.

Sixty years on, the tide has turned. It is Osborne’s The Entertainer which seems flat and old-fashioned. His attempt to borrow from Brecht, so fashionable at the Royal Court in the mid-1950s, seems terribly dated now. The play’s politics should be very topical today with the debates about Iraq and Afghanistan. However, there is no insight, no sense of a changing world beyond little England. Osborne’s men just seem to rant and rage. They are not interesting or clever. Who would want to sit next to Jimmy Porter or Archie Rice at a dinner table? The truth is they are rather dull. Instead, it is Rattigan who has endured. Joseph Fiennes recently played T.E. Lawrence in Adrian Noble’s production of Ross at Chichester. In 2015, Kenneth Branagh revived Harlequinade in the West End. And in 2011 there were a number of acclaimed Rattigan revivals to celebrate the centenary of his birth. The National’s recent production of The Deep Blue Sea, written just five years before The Entertainer, was a huge hit. The Daily Telegraph called it “intoxicating”; interestingly, it damned the original review in the Observer for getting the play so wrong and for missing its emotional power and complexity. Michael Billington gave it four stars and hailed Rattigan’s “composite picture of England”.

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