Noel Coward’s Hay Fever opens at Lyceum

Hywel Simons and Susan Wooldridge in rehearsal for Hay Fever

Hywel Simons and Susan Wooldridge in rehearsal for Hay Fever

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REVELATION, romance, and outrageous behaviour set the tone of Hay Fever, Noel Coward’s 1920’s comedy which opens at the Royal Lyceum tomorrow.

Exploring the games people play to avoid the realities of everyday existence, Hay Fever is considered to be one of Coward’s most enduring comedies.

Set in the rural retreat of the eccentric Bliss family, this riotous farce charts the unconventional antics of a self-dubbed ‘bohemian’ family of four, each of whom has invited a guest to stay.

As they all settle down to a post-dinner parlour game, the hapless visitors become playthings in the Bliss’ self-made melodrama

In this co-production with Glasgow’s Citizen’s Theatre, mother of the Bliss family, Judith, is played by BAFTA award-winning actress Susan Wooldridge and father, David, by Benny Young.

Charlie Archer, best known as Harry in E4’s Crazyhead, and Rosemary Boyle, take on the roles of siblings Simon and Sorel Bliss.

Dominic Hill, Artistic Director of the Citizens Theatre and director of Hay Fever says, “The Citizens Theatre and Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh have long enjoyed a close relationship.

“Working together has enabled our two theatres to present some fantastic co-productions in recent years, and I’m delighted that we’ll be working together again.

“I’ve always loved Hay Fever; it is a genuinely funny and insightful play with an acerbic cruelty that lifts it above a simple comedy of manners.”

The Bliss’ guest list includes Hywel Simons, who you may recall from The Bill and Poldark, Katie Barnett, Nathan Ives-Moiba, Pauline Knowles, most recently seen at the Lyceum in Jumpy, and Myra McFadyen.

The production also reunites director Hill with designer Tom Piper MBE, who has designed many Citizens’ shows including King Lear, The Libertine and Endgame.

However, Piper is probably best known for his 2014 collaboration with Paul Cummins and The Tower of London on Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.

The installation of 888,246 ceramic red poppies marked one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War and led to Piper being awarded his MBE.

The production will transfer to The Citz from 5 to 22 April after its Edinburgh season.

Hay Fever, Royal Lyceum, Grindlay Street, Friday-1 April, 7.30pm (matinees 2pm), £10-£30.50, 0131-248 4848