“Justifies revival…Vane is clearly saying something about a 1920s England riddled with social injustice and spiritual ennui” –The Guardian
Seven passengers meet in the saloon bar of a ship as it sets sail from an unidentified English port. Socialite Mrs. Cliveden-Banks is on her way to join her husband, a Colonel in the army; Mr. Lingley has important business in Marseilles; charlady Mrs. Midget is making her first passage by sea; Reverend William Duke is looking forward to a holiday, while Tom Prior intends to spend the journey in the ship’s saloon bar. Also on board are Henry and Ann, a young couple who seem anxious for the ship to leave port. But the travelers have more in common than they dare suspect. Out at sea, an eerie calm settles over the ship as Tom is the first to discover the fate which awaits his fellow passengers…
Outward Bound was one of the biggest West End and Broadway hits of the 1920s and was twice filmed. Its production at the Finborough Theatre in 2012 marks its first London run in more than fifty years.
Sutton Vane was a British actor and playwright. He started his career as an actor until the outbreak of the First World War. He joined up in 1914 at the age of 26 and served until he was invalided out due to shell-shock. Vane was haunted by his war experiences, and once he sufficiently recovered, he returned to the combat area as a civilian, appearing for the entertainment of troops near the front lines during the latter half of the war. After the Armistice, Vane turned to writing plays, and authored two conventional works that caused little stir. Outward Bound was his third play and the work for which he is now remembered.