Arts & Culture » Arts

Hay Fever' is an appropriately stuffy, drawing-room comedy




First comes Sandy Tyrell (Alex Choate), a boxer and dandy, followed by Myra Arundel (Emily Gray), a former rival of Judith, and Richard Greatham (Gregory Hopkins), a "diplomatist."

The play is well-acted from top to bottom of the cast list. In a role that is slightly more than a cameo, Kimberlyn Gumm as Jackie Coryton, a "perfectly sweet flapper" whom David invited so he can "study her a little in domestic surroundings," makes a perfectly sweet impression.

This description may make the production sound better than it really is, but if you like froth on your quaff, you might enjoy "Hay Fever." Director Michael Jones brings the show in at slightly less than two boisterous, frenetic hours, including one intermission.

The story goes that "Hay Fever" was inspired by a country weekend that Coward spent with the family of Laurette Taylor, who was generally considered the greatest stage actress of her day. After the death of her husband, Taylor took a long hiatus from the stage, returning to create the role of the mother in "The Glass Menagerie," soon after which she tragically and prematurely died.

Indeed, Judith has been long absent from the stage, but she tells her children that she plans to return in a revival of something titled "Love's Whirlwind." One senses that this is not the first time Judith has grandly announced her triumphant return to the stage.

The program doesn't tell when or where the play takes place, but Danielle Trebus' costumes indicate 1925, except for an anachronistic pair of hot-pink wellies. Jason Foreman's scenic design captures the overstuffed country house of a successful author of popular fiction, although the production seems claustrophobic in the small CitySpace theater. The actors stand close to the audience and shout a lot, so if your seat is on the first row, bring you own rain gear.

"?Larry Laneer


Latest in Arts

Add a comment