The illicit affair of a devout woman in London ignites a shattering family crisis in the author’s “ruthlessly honest” first play (The Guardian).
In a dour Holland Park house with rooms and secrets long shuttered live three unyielding forces for morality: rigidly religious sisters Helen and Teresa, and their brother, a Roman Catholic priest. Into the lives of this insular trio comes their young grandniece, Rose Pemberton, following the death of her mother. To the mortification of her aunts, Rose has also brought her lover, Michael Dennis, who is twenty-five years Rose’s senior, married, and a psychology lecturer dictated by reason, not faith. In a home that reeks of sanctimony, Rose and Michael are as welcome as sin. But it’s the arrival of Michael’s distraught wife—armed with righteous emotional blackmail and worse—that ignites an unexpected fury and makes real the family’s greatest fears.
Premiering in London in 1953 and moving to Broadway one year later, Graham Greene’s debut as a dramatist was hailed by Kenneth Tynan as “the best first play of its generation.”