The answer to the enigma of Lawrence of Arabia is looked for in Terence Rattigan’s epic play.

While his military exploits are fully portrayed, the playwright is more interested in looking at the man behind the heroic public image.

The play starts and ends in the RAF depot where Lawrence has enlisted under the name of Ross in the search for anonymity. A nightmare has him remembering his wartime life which then unfolds before the audience. Here we eventually see the self-will that has controlled his life shattered when he is raped by Turkish soldiers.

The writing, if perhaps a little too long, provides a strong piece of theatre well staged by director Adrian Noble and his creative team. Rattigan gets the balance right when he lightens the drama with humour.

Joseph Fiennes takes on the marathon role of Ross/Lawrence and captures the many facets of the man. His arrogance and flippancy crumble after his brutal treatment and the husk of the broken man is pitiful to behold. However, there are times when Fiennes lets his voice drop and dialogue is lost.

An excellent cast support him with notable performances from Paul Freeman, Peter Polycarpou, Michael Feast and Nicholas Prasad.