Separate Tables had its premiere at the St James's Theatre in London on 22 September 1954. It was originally intended that the main roles should be played by Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, who had scored quite a success with Rattigan's The Sleeping Prince. They asked Rattigan to postpone the production to fit in with their schedule, but the play could not wait. It opened instead with Margaret Leighton and Eric Portman in the leading roles. They were later to take the play to Broadway.
The play opened to good reviews and Harold Hobson called the second play in the double-bill, "one of Rattigan's masterpieces, in which he shows in superlative degree his pathos, his humour and his astounding mastery over the English language...".
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