Theatre at Baddow
Old-world snobbery meets the classless society. Coward's comedy from the dark ages of the early 50s paints a backwater ruffled by a ripple from across the pond, a microcosm of post-war English life.
Theatre at Baddow went for the witty repartee, the farcical encounter, in a very enjoyable production directed by Pauline Saddington.
The plot revolves around Moxie, lady's maid and long-lost sister to a Star. Enthusiastically played by Lorraine Ely, totally inhabiting her character, glorious in disguise, hilarious in her cups. Her Act One scene with Felicity [an elegant Beth Walters, her lines deliciously pointed, perfectly timed] was a portent of delights to come.
The Hollywood ingénue was Caroline Wright, glamorous but shallow, every inch a screen idol. Her leading man was a cool Roger Saddington.
Crestwell the butler, played with a wicked twinkle by Bob Ryall, was chirpy rather than sardonic, with below-stairs support from Eleanor Mears as a ditsy housemaid.
The cast was completed by Joe Kennedy as the stuffed-shirt son and heir, David Saddington as a caustic hanger-on [Coward himself ?] and Helen Bence superb as Lady Cynthia, sadly widowed in this production, a past mistress of the cutting remark and the reproachful glare.
A successful revival of late-flowering Coward, with stunning frocks and a solid, timeless set.