Noel Coward’s 1924 play Hay Fever is often described as the quintessential English play – a cross between high farce and a comedy of manners. It had a major West End revival at the theatre named after him in 2012.
Both The Telegraph’s critics Charles Spencer and Tim Walker gave it five stars. “Howard Davies cracking production… superbly funny… transforms triviality into comic perfection”. Tim called it “excruciatingly funny”. Michael Billington wrote in The Guardian, “it helps that he has a cast that could, as Coward said of his own 1964 revival, play the Albanian telephone directory”.
Led by the sublime Lindsay Duncan as Judith Bliss, the stellar cast included Kevin McNally as her testy and bookish husband, who’s “wearing a bit thin now” and the delightful Olivia Colman as the predatory vamp Myra Arundel.
This is one of a series of sketches I drew based on the production which both Olivia and Kevin signed in May 2012. The latest revival with Felicity Kendal opened this week at the Duke of York’s theatre in London, so I know what I’ll be drawing this week.