REVIEW: A real gem from the master of drawing room comedy

Bury Theatre Workshop presents Hayfever. Pictured: Charlie Easdown as Simon Bliss, Gayle Wade as 'Judith Bliss' and Julia Harman as 'Jackie' ANL-151006-130642001
Bury Theatre Workshop presents Hayfever. Pictured: Charlie Easdown as Simon Bliss, Gayle Wade as 'Judith Bliss' and Julia Harman as 'Jackie' ANL-151006-130642001
  • Hay Fever by Noel Coward
  • Performed by Bury Theatre Workshop
  • Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds From June 9 to June 13
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This gem from Coward opened a little tentatively but soon got into its stride as the bohemian Bliss family confounded their guests with their rude and self-involved lifestyle.

Written by Coward in 1924 it opened on June 8 1925, 90 years ago to the Bury St Edmunds first night.

Set in a country house in Cookham four guests are independently invited for the weekend by each of the family and, like lambs to the slaughter, discover this was not the weekend they had hoped for.

Gayle Wade, as the theatrical Judith Bliss, did sterling work as she moved from one melodramatic moment to the next while Julia Salmon played a convincing vampish Myra Arundel.

Charles Easdown was also excellent as the spoiled artistic son Simon Bliss and Tom Ogden was excellent as the bemused and totally out of his depth Richard Greatham.

The set was beautifully nostalgic and I liked the lighting implying the garden leading down to the river.

On a few occasions delivery was a little too carefully modulated but the cast rose to the occasion as the Bliss inflict a parlour game on their uncomprehending visitors. Best of all are the moments when

Judith comes over all theatrical and the family break into fierce squabbles in front of their horrified guests.

This is a real gem from the master of drawing room comedy and the players have done this justice.