Stage luminaries Marina Prior (Hello Dolly!) and Simon Gleeson (Les Misérables) lead an irresistible cast including Gareth Davies (The Cherry Orchard), Marg Downey (Top of the Lake: China Girl), Kim Gyngell (Top of the Lake: China Girl), Alexandra Keddie (Offspring), Imogen Sage (Rebecca), Monica Sayers (Chimerica) and Drew Weston (The Rocky Horror Show) in Noël Coward’s top-drawer comedy of bad manners, Hay Fever.
Opening on Thursday 28 September at Southbank Theatre, The Sumner, Coward’s characteristically exquisite dialogue has been raising scandalised laughter for almost a hundred years, and will now be brought to life at MTC by award-winning director Lee Lewis.
Lee Lewis said, ‘I’m thoroughly excited to leap into the world of Noël Coward with this first-class cast and creative team. The most wonderful thing about delving into a period piece is being immersed in the fashions, speech and concerns of a particular era, yet still finding traces of ourselves in the work. This will be a suitably luscious depiction of Coward’s 1920s, and I can’t wait for audiences to experience it.’
Although decidedly odd, the Bliss family can be perfectly charming when they want to be. Although it is indubitably true that Judith, a retired actress, tends towards melodrama in her everyday affairs, and her husband, David, a novelist, can be rather reclusive and foul tempered. Their grown-up children, Simon and Sorel, are quite capable of civility – if it suits them. It is just that, on this blighted weekend, each has invited a guest to stay at their house in the country without telling any of the others. So dashed inconsiderate! And for their poor guests, perfect agony!
Lee Lewis is the Artistic Director of Griffin Theatre Company and one of the country’s leading stage directors. Her productions have included Rupert for MTC; The Literati, 8 Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography, Silent Disco, Emerald City, The Bull the Moon and the Coronet of Stars, A Hoax, The Call, and The Nightwatchman for Griffin; Twelfth Night and The School for Wives for Bell Shakespeare; Honour, ZEBRA! and Love Lies Bleeding for Sydney Theatre Company; This Heaven and That Face for Belvoir; Battlegrounds and Citizenship for Australian Theatre for Young People; and over 20 independent productions. Other directing credits include Kate Mulvany’s Masquerade for Griffin Theatre and State Theatre Company of South Australia, which had its world premiere at Sydney Festival. She holds a Master of Fine Art from both Columbia University and NIDA. In 2007 Currency House published her book Cross-Racial Casting: Changing the Face of Australian Theatre as part of their Platform Papers series.
As a writer, composer, director, actor and singer, Noël Coward (1899-1973) was renowned for his wit, flamboyance and chic style. His prodigious output spanned six decades including more than fifty plays, some of which have been adapted for the screen, and more than three hundred songs. He started writing in his teens and was an overnight sensation with his play The Vortex. By the thirties, he was famous on both sides of the Atlantic. Many of his works including HayFever, Private Lives, Design for Living, Present Laughter and Blithe Spirit have endured as theatre classics. He was knighted in 1970 and the following year received a Tony Award for distinguished achievement in theatre.
Cast Gareth Davies, Marg Downey, Simon Gleeson, Kim Gyngell, Alexandra Keddie, Marina Prior, Imogen Sage, Monica Sayers, Drew Weston
Director Lee Lewis
Lighting Designer Paul Jackson
Set Designer Christina Smith
Costume Designer Esther Marie Hayes
Composer and Sound Designer Kelly Ryall
Voice and Dialect Coach Geraldine Cook-Dafner
Assistant Director Prue Clark
‘Coward’s well-nigh perfect comedy of bad manners.’
‘A comic masterpiece in the great tradition of high English comedy.’
23 September – 28 October
Thursday 28 September, 8pm
Southbank Theatre, The Sumner
03 8688 0800