Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Jamie de Courcey’

The Finborough has a knack of finding a rarity in search of an audience, and an audience in search of a rarity; this one sold out before it opened. It’s an oddly titled banned 1925 Noel Coward play, getting its UK professional premiere. We must have been real prudes back in 1925, as it got staged in the US, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Egypt & South America – but not here; well, until now.

You’d know it was a Coward play even if you went to see it blind. In fact, it occasionally seems like a parody of Coward. Cads & bounders, cocktails & cigarettes and everyone’s darling, darling. In the world of the upper middle class, the play revolves around Edward Churt, a portrait painter who seems to be the only one who works. The rest visit each other for drinks and gossip, have lunch, play majong and travel to foreign parts to have drinks and gossip with their friends who’ve also travelled to foreign parts.

Right at the beginning of the play Edward discovers his wife Carol’s infidelity, but he doesn’t confront her until the end of the play. In between, his friend Evelyn decides to intervene on his behalf and it’s this overlong two-hand middle act where the play is at its weakest. It’s not a great play and it’s hard to identify with or care about any of the characters, which makes it more an experience of detached theatrical history that engaging, involving drama.

Simon Kenny has designed a simple, elegant and evocative period set and the costumes are terrific. The three leads, all of whose real names could be Coward character names(!) – Jamie De Courcey, Dorothea Myer-Bennett & Robert Portal – are all very good and there’s a superb supporting performance from Georgina Rylance as ice cool Zoe. Whatever you think of the play, this is a typically high quality Finborough production.

It isn’t the slightest bit shocking to a modern audience and the suggestion of a ban today would be laughable. Porgy & Bess, which I saw the previous night and which first appeared ten years later, would have been much more shocking. In 2014, it’s a rarity for those interested in 20th century British theatre in general and Noel Coward in particular.

Read Full Post »