20 May 2008

The Vortex by Noel Coward

Preston - Vivien Keene
Helen Saville - Phoebe Nicholls
Pauncefort Quentin - Barry Stanton
Clara Hibbert - Annette Badland
Florence Lancaster - Felicity Kendal
Tom Veryan - Daniel Pirrie
Nicky Lancaster - Dan Stevens
David Lancaster - Paul Ridley
Bunty Mainwaring - Cressida Trew
Bruce Fairlight - Timothy Speyer

Directed by Peter Hall
Designed by Alison Chitty

At the Apollo, Shaftesbury Avenue H 4

I came to see young Dan but with certain reservations because I saw the wonderful production from 1989 with Rupert Everett and Maria Aitken. This production didn't really come close.

The set design was neither here nor there. It wasn't a luxurious set like Present Laughter at the National but then it was not so stunningly minimal. There was an awful gap behind the door which was too narrow to be a statement and just looked like a clumsy mistake.
I was not expecting Felicity Kendal to give a delicate performance and the role doesn't call for it but she was so irritating. She looked like she was wearing those support knickers though she was tiny. Dan did not convey a young man with a vice to me at all. He was lovely but not the way I wanted to see Nicky played. Phoebe Nicholls was probably the best judged performance except that I struggled to hear her sometimes. Annette Badland was suitably annoying and got a lot of the laughs.

Costumes were delicious.