NOEL Coward’s hilarious comedy of bad manners, Hay Fever, starring Felicity Kendal and Simon Shepherd is set to appear at the Theatre Royal Bath from Wednesday 20th August to Saturday 6th.
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, Solo, The Mistress (which was filmed in Bath), Rosemary and Thyme and Strictly Come Dancing 2010.
Her extensive theatre credits include 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. She was last seen at the Theatre Royal Bath in November 2013 starring in Chin-Chin on tour.
In April of the same year, she played Bath in Relatively Speaking, directly before a West End transfer of the Theatre Royal Bath Production, directed by Lindsay Posner; which toured to the Theatre Royal initially during the 2012 autumn season. Her many previous performances in Bath also include Fallen Angels in 2000, Happy Days in 2003, Amy’s View in 2006, The Vortex in 2008, and Mrs Warren’s Profession in 2009; all of which played the Theatre Royal prior to the West End.