Preview – Hay Fever at The Royal Lyceum
‘You kissed me because you were awfully nice and I was awfully nice and we both like kissing very much. It was inevitable.‘
The Minnesota Monthly once described Hay Fever as ‘…an exhausting exercise in emotions and extremes/the humour is contagious.’ Ah, our American cousins do so terribly, terribly get wrought with the vapours.
Set in those immediate years after the horrors of the Great War this was a time for the bright young things to celebrate the genteel interbellum. Daddy being filthy rich with a stately pile in the country/Richmond pad helped of course.
A swathe of eligible young bachelors had been left to fertilise the fields of Flanders, a disproportionate higher % of junior officers suffering fatalities compared to the ordinary Tommy.
So, a ‘gel’ had to catch catch her beau when the chance arose. This was the time of the emerging Bohemians, the shocking aesthetic of the ‘free-loving’ Bloomsbury Set and emerging Art Deco. Charles Ryder was about to fall for the fatal charms of Sebastian Flyte and teddy bear Aloysius. On to this exotic canvas Noel Coward, at the peak of of his craft, portrays his bitter-sweet family farce, Hay Fever.
Set in the rural retreat of the eccentric, if not ironically named, Bliss family, this riotous assembly charts the unconventional antics of a self-dubbed ‘bohemian’ family of four.
Directed by Dominic Hill, revelation, romance and outrageous behaviour set the tone of this 1920s comedy which explores the games people play to avoid the realities of everyday existence. Considered to be one of Noël Coward’s most enduring comedies, the production opens at The Lyceum on Friday 10 March-April 1, transferring to Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre from 5 –22 April.