COWARD GENIUS PURE BLISS FOR KENDAL
ENGLISH stage and screen actor Felicity Kendal says she has always been attracted to the playwright rather than the part when it comes to choosing her next role, so it is no surprise she signed up to tour in Noel Coward’s Hay Fever.
“I’ve always said I’d prefer to do a smaller part in a well-written play than a big part in a rubbish play,” Kendal said.
“In fact, I hadn’t read this play for years when I agreed to do it, and when I started reading it, hadn’t remembered how much my character Judith Bliss spoke in it.
“I thought it was a much smaller part and was horrified and shocked how much she’s in it.”
The London-based star of television shows The Good Life and Rosemary and Thyme has appeared in several Coward plays during her career and attributed the success of this two-hour melodrama to his clever and witty writing.
“It’s about an appalling family behaving incredibly badly, which I find quite funny,” she said.
“It’s a laugh, which is lovely to have these days with everything that’s going on.”
Set at a rural retreat, Hay Fever follows an outrageous weekend in the English countryside and is based on a real New York family who found sport in inviting guests to their country house and embarrassing them.
“Judith has a love for her family, but only on the condition they do exactly as she says and they are around her constantly,” Kendal said.
“She is a retired actress who was very successful and wants to still act all the time, on or off the stage, and loves being in the limelight and centre of attention.”
Felicity Kendal plays the outrageous Judith Bliss in HayFever.