As wrongful accusations go, a 14-year-old naval cadet being accused of stealing a five-shilling money order is not exactly fodder for an HBO miniseries. Typically the rules of modern drama require a murder or two, at least.
But in pre-World War I England, such a minor infraction was more than enough to upend the life of young Ronnie Winslow, who finds his own reputation and his family's honor tied up in an ill-timed controversy over a suspected act of petty theft.
Winslow is the protagonist of Terrence Rattigan's 1946 play "The Winslow Boy," which opens April 21 in an Irish Classical Theatre production directed by Brian Cavanagh and starring Collan Zimmerman, Robert Rutland, Kate LoConti and Matt Witten.
The play is based on the real-life story of a young cadet in England's Royal Navy who was accused of cashing a five-shilling postal order after a school investigation. Later, in the case of the real cadet as well as his fictional counterpart, the family enlisted a well-known barrister to plead his case in court and rescue the family name.
The play had its London premiere in 1946 and headed to Broadway the following year. It was later adapted into two film versions: Anthony Asquith's 1958 version and another by David Mamet in 1999. It was revived on Broadway in 2013.
The production runs through May 14 in the Andrews Theatre (625 Main St.). Tickets are $45. Call 853-4282 or visit irishclassicaltheatre.com.