Somerset Maugham’s play at first appears to be an old fashioned drawing room comedy but soon switches to a splendid piece of dramatic theatre.

Set 15 years after the end of the Great War it involves a middle class family coming to terms with its aftermath.

It highlights the plight of womenfolk having lost loved ones facing life with little chance of remarrying.

It also reflects on how quickly maimed heroes were forgotten and how discharged servicemen were given little help on returning to “Civvy Street”.

Howard Davies’s direction captures the period well without letting the well-drawn characters drift into caricature.

There are strong parts for all the actors who deliver ensemble playing at its best.

Joseph Kloska’s blinded Sydney gets to deliver a forceful anti- war speech which is immediately countered by his brother-in-law who relishes the prospect of another war.

There are echoes of Chekhov throughout and, in particular with Evie – in love with a man who does not reciprocate. Justine Mitchell gives a heart wrenching performance.

Yolanda Kettle shines as the young Lois, realising that marriage is not for her, prepares to exploit, for services rendered, the philandering Wilfred Cedar, played with reptilian charm by Anthony Calf.

Four stars