Stoic reminder of lessons to learn in era after Great War

Swan Theatre Company, Bedford.
Swan Theatre Company, Bedford.

Fourteen years after the end of the First World War, Sydney is blind, Collie is bankrupt and Howard is an alcoholic.

And it’s not exactly the land fit for heroes they were promised.

Eva’s fiancée didn’t come back from the war, Ethel has married beneath her but stoically tries to make the best of it and their younger sister Lois is afraid she’s going to end up like them.

The Ardsley family circle is not extensive; this is small town England in 1932 and times are hard; there seems to be no escape for any of them. Somerset Maugham’s incisive state-of-the-nation play, For Services Rendered - written in 1932 - sheds a harrowing light on provincial middle-class England after The Great War.

The message is still fresh and 100 years after the start of the ‘war to end all wars’ the play reminds us we’ve still got a lot to learn.

The Swan Theatre Company present For Services Rendered, by William Somerset Maugham, at The Place, Bradgate Road, Bedford, from Tuesday, November 11 until Saturday, November 15, with performances at 7.30pm.

Tickets are £9, £7.50 concessions from www.theplacebedford.org.uk, or the Bedford Central Box Office on 01234 718112.