Following its run at the Theatre Royal in Bath Noël Coward’s hilarious comedy of bad manners, Hay Fever , starring Felicity Kendal and Simon Shepherd is coming to Richmond next week.
The Bliss family – recently-retired Judith, the once glittering star of the London stage; David, an egocentric novelist; and Sorel and Simon, their two Bohemian adult children – are incapable of sharing the spotlight.
Unconventional, risqué, and often downright rude, they are everything a respectable English family should not be. When each member of the family invites a guest to their rural retreat, the unassuming visitors are thrown into a living melodrama.
Misjudged meetings, secret seductions and scandalous revelations proliferate during one outrageous weekend in Berkshire.
Hay Fever has been a favourite amongst theatregoers ever since it first dazzled London’s West End in 1925, when Marie Tempest starred in the premiere, directed by Noël Coward himself.
In 1964, when Hay Fever was staged by the Royal National Theatre – then with Laurence Olivier at the helm and located at London’s Old Vic - it was directed by Noël Coward again, becoming the first play by a living dramatist to be staged at the National.
Much loved for her illustrious television and stage career, Felicity Kendal stars as Judith Bliss. One of the UK’s most popular actresses, she has starred in many long-running television series including The Good Life (filmed partly in Northwood) , Solo , Rosemary and Thyme and Strictly Come Dancing 2010 .
Her extensive theatre credits include Chin-Chin, Relatively Speaking, Amadeus, Othello, On the Razzle, Arcadia and Humble Boy, all at the National Theatre. In the West End, her numerous credits include The Last Cigarette ; Clouds, for which she won the Variety Club Best Actress of the Year Award; and Much Ado About Nothing and Ivanov with Alan Bates, winning the Evening Standard Best Actress Award.
Simon Shepherd stars as David Bliss. His many stage credits include the West End productions of The Duck House, Posh, The Secret Rapture, The Browning Version, A Tale of Two Cities and Art .
Between 1993 and 2002, he played the role of Dr Will Preston in more than 70 episodes of Peak Practice . His film and television credits also include Death in Paradise, Rogue Trader, Wuthering Heights, Chancer, Heartbeat, Poirot, Gimme Gimme Gimme, and The Ruth Rendell Mysteries .
Sara Stewart plays the role of Myra Arundel. Her recent stage work also includes Enron, Heartbreak House at Chichester Festival Theatre; The Snow Queen at the Rose Theatre Kingston; Six Degrees of Separation at London’s Old Vic; Present Laughter at the National Theatre; and Proof at the Donmar.
Her many film and television credits include Mr Selfridge, Quirke, Fresh Meat, EastEnders, Batman Begins, Mrs Brown, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, A Cock and Bull Story, and Drop the Dead Donkey .
The role of Simon Bliss is played by Edward Franklin, whose stage credits include Twelve Angry Men in the West End. His television work includes Doctors, Being Human and Married Single Other .
Alice Orr-Ewing appears as Sorel Bliss. Her film and television credits include Pramface, Poirot, Blandings and Atonement .
Known on television for playing Melody Jones in Home and Away , Celeste Dodwell appears as Jackie Coryton; and the role of Clara is played by Mossie Smith, whose theatre credits include productions for the National Theatre.
The cast is completed by Michael Simkins as Richard Greatham. His recent credits include Oh What A Lovely War at Stratford East, the UK tour of Yes, Prime Minister , EastEnders, and The Iron Lady .
This production reunites the considerable comic talents of Felicity Kendal and director Lindsay Posner – after their West End triumph in Alan Ayckbourn’s Relatively Speaking last year. His numerous West End productions include Butley starring Dominic West; An Ideal Husband starring Samantha Bond and Rachel Stirling; A View from the Bridge starring Ken Stott - nominated for four Olivier Awards, including Best Revival and Best Director.
Playwright, composer, actor, author, director, producer and master of wit, Noël Coward (1899 - 1973) remains one of our most distinguished and celebrated icons.
Coward had written over fifteen plays by the time he was in his mid-thirties and, despite his comparative youth, the first of many Coward biographies had already been published.
The show is on at Richmond Theatre from Mon 15 – Sat 20 September. 7.30pm daily with a Wednesday and Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.
Tickets range from £11.90-£52.90
To buy visit http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/hay-fever/richmond-theatre/#showinfotabs=overview
Or call 0844 871 7651