Posted on 2012/02/19 18:02:46 (February 2012).
[Monday 13th February 2012]
I'm very much into Noel Coward at the moment, and in addition to reading the first instalment of his autobiography (which I actually find a bit depressing as it reminds me how unglamorous my life is by comparison - he seemed to forever be at somebody or other's party, and gadding about all over the place), I've also been avidly on the look out for any of his plays being performed in London. So I was rather pleased to hear Hay Fever was going to be on, and at the Noel Coward Theatre of all places. Apparently this is the first time a Noel Coward play has actually been performed there, since it was renamed shortly after he died in the 1970s.
I'd decided to make a bit of a night of it, and met up with Chie beforehand for a pre-theatre dinner at J. Sheekey's Oyster Bar, which is also very conveniently located next door to the Noel Coward Theatre. Moreover I'd read that Savile Row aficionado James Sherwood was there recrently, which gave me the impression it would probably be quite a glamorous sort of a place, and I donned my suit accordingly. I did rather like the atmosphere there, and several of the other diners were rather well-to-do and well spoken, but obviously the vegetarian options in a place famous for seafood were never going to be that inspiring.
As for the actual play, well, I enjoyed it, but probably not as much as the last two Noel Coward plays we'd seen (A Design for Living and Private Lives). Perhaps this was because it was fairly early on in the run - it was only their third night I think - and they hadn't quite got into their stride yet.... but it didn't seem as slick as the previous two places had been, and I think the delivery of what should have been many of the funniest lines was a bit off.
It was interesting though that just a couple of days later I got to the bit in Noel Coward's autobiography where he described the house and family he'd spent time with in New York which had inspired the play. Albeit that in the play the family had been relocated to Cookham, in Berkshire.
Still, a fun night overall - we should do this sort of thing more often.
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