Ayden Callaghan, Honeysuckle Weeks and Sara Crowe star in Accolade as Emlyn Williams’ 75-year-old gripping morality drama tours to Bath’s Theatre Royal.

Newly-knighted author Sir Will Trenting appears to have it all - a stellar career, a Nobel Prize, and the perfect family.

But when his secret and scandalous past threatens to be exposed, the harsh realities of the price of success threatened his reputation and his cosy world.

He and his family are drawn into a dark and chilling trial-by-media, facing the double standards of a society hell-bent on destroying him.

With razor-sharp dialogue, poignant moments and unexpected twists, Emlyn Williams' play remains as remarkably relevant today as its debut in 1950.

Accolade: Honeysuckle Weeks as Rona Trenting and Ayden Callaghan as Will Trenting.Accolade: Honeysuckle Weeks as Rona Trenting and Ayden Callaghan as Will Trenting. (Image: Jack Merriman)

Trenting (Ayden Callaghan) is a highly-successful author with a string of best-selling novels who is about to be knighted in the 1950 New Year’s Honours.

He is married to Rona, an upper middle-class housewife played delightfully by Honeysuckle Weeks, who has hitherto turned a blind eye to his weekend partying.

It works for Trenting, who finds inspiration for his novels by returning to his Rotherhithe roots to host sex parties at the Blue Lion pub.

And it works for Rona, who finds that turning a blind eye to her husband’s partying, is a small price to pay for his success as a novelist when it opens doors to a literacy social circle and a prominent position in society.

Their bookish son Ian, played very convincingly by Louis Holland, is completely unaware of that his Jekyll & Hyde father’s secret other life is about to come crashing down.

However, Trenting’s elevation to a knighthood draws attention to his hidden life, and the slow realisation that his secrets are likely to be exposed.

Rona and his stuffy publisher Thane Lampeter, ably played by David Phelan, are soon introduced to Phyllis and Harold, played by Sarah Twomey and Gavin Fowler, who help to organise the parties.

When the menacing Daker, the father of a young 14-year-old girl whom Trenting has met at one of his parties, turns up on his doorstep to demand retribution, his comfortable world begins to collapse.

Multi-award-winning director Sean Mathias uses a curtain to transition between scenes, which adds a touch of novelty to the staging.

The climax of the play is verbally compelling, capturing the audience's attention with its intensity as the angry mob outside Trenting’s home threatens violence.

Accolade: Sara Crowe as Marian Tillyard and Honeysuckle Weeks as Rona Trenting.Accolade: Sara Crowe as Marian Tillyard and Honeysuckle Weeks as Rona Trenting. (Image: Jack Merriman)

It was a pleasant surprise to see Sara Crowe, as Rona’s close friend Marian Tillyard, in a role that diverged from her usual light, fluffy characters, showcasing her range and depth as an actress.

The ten-strong cast is completed by Jamie Hogarth as Albert, Narinder Samra as Daker and Kayleigh Cooper as the Parlour Maid, Gladys. The male understudy is Alasdair Buchan.

I liked the set and costume design by Julie Godfrey, which conveys a world of literary endeavour in a wooden-panelled study with a ticking clock.

The lighting design by Nick Richings and sound design by David Gregory, give the impression of an opaque world where nothing is quite as it transparent seems.

As the walls close in quite literally, Trenting’s world becomes confined to the prison cell that is likely to await him for having sex with a young girl.

Overall, while Accolade has its moments of brilliance, the sluggish pace and technical distractions somewhat diminish the overall experience.

The production opened at the Theatre Royal Windsor on May 31 for a two-week run and will end its tour in Richmond.

Accolade appears at the Theatre Royal Bath to Saturday, July 6. To book tickets call the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or visit theatreroyal.org.uk