Concept Players present Hay Fever

By Noel Coward

This was to be our second play of 2023 and our third production, after Anything Goes and Blood Brothers. A large task, not only from a production point of view but also because the play was even considered by the playwright as a difficult piece.

It was nice to return to Noel Coward after the success of Blithe Spirit. This play is one in which little happens but the comedy of manners wins through and our audiences seemed to thorough enjoy it. Witty and fast paced, the dialogue in this sparks and sizzles as each member of the Bliss family behave suitably badly. Heading up the family is the theatre prima donna, Judith Bliss, played with aplomb, grace and comic timing by Ellie Hoare. Her husband David, the frustrated Pater Familial of the clan, played by Laurence Clark equally added to the mayhem. Their children, Sorrel and Simon, played by Sophie Hughes and Richard Axtell open the play, their boredom and languidness touched with love and contempt for their parents in equal measure, made sure that this family dynamic could not be ignored. This strong family ensemble was aided by Judith's dresser, Maurice, played with perfect comic timing by Paul Buckle. Into this household then comes the unsuspecting guests, each invited by a member of the family. First to arrive was Sandy Tyrell, The athletic young would-be squire of Judith, which was played with suitable brio by Ben Mussel who proved he was no match for the machinations of the Bliss women. He was shortly followed by the timid Jackie Coryton and the uptight diplomatist Richard Greatham, played by Julie Axtell and Mark Sadler. Both playing at times the foil to the Bliss banter but also surprising us with their own impulsive actions. The last to arrive was Myra Arundel, a woman of a certain reputation, played vivaciously by Rhiannon Rose-Goodsir.

Paul and Ruairidh created yet another beautiful box set, capturing the 1920s country vibe perfectly. The costume team of Laura, Paul and Fiona did a stunning job in making and sourcing the wardrobe that perfectly captured the era. Lighting by Ellie, Ffion and Kevin Morgan was perfect and Laura, though not present on the night, ensured all the correct sounds were made!.

Ruairidh, who has directed many of our past productions, ensured the pace of this wordy piece was just right ably supported by Laura and Kate. The cast, production team and director really rose to the challenge of this period piece that still holds it's own even after nearly a hundred years. Now, how about we play a game....?