Penelope Keith as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest at the Vaudeville Theatre in London
Review from The Telegraph\
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Vaudeville Theatre
(22nd Jan to 26th April 2008)
Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is one of the most popular plays ever written. Subtitled ‘A trivial comedy for serious people’, it is bursting with hilarious lines and extraordinary twists of fate and sparkles with the witty dialogue of its genteel protagonists.
Prim-and-proper Jack Worthington is in love with the equally prim-and-proper Gwendolyn Fairfax. His friend, Algernon Moncrieff, is in love with Cecily Cardew. But both Gwendolyn and Cecily are in love with Ernest. Add the magnificently imposing Lady Bracknell, a nanny with a dubious story about a handbag and the result is a delightful entertainment as fresh and funny as when it was first performed in 1895.
Penelope Keith, one of Britain’s best-loved actresses, was born to play Lady Bracknell. Her many previous theatre appearances include Time and the Conways, Blithe Spirit, Entertaining Angels and Relatively Speaking. Her numerous television series include the hugely successful The Good Life and To the Manor Born.
Peter Gill is one of our most distinguished and acclaimed directors. At the Royal Court Theatre in the sixties, he was responsible for introducing D H Lawrence’s plays to the theatre.
Cast includes : Penelope Keith, Janet Henfrey, Tim Wylton, William Ellis, Harry Hadden-Paton, Daisy Haggard, Rebecca Night, Maxwell Hutcheon, Roger Swaine
Felicity Kendal in THE VORTEX from 20 Feb at the Apollo Theatre.
Ms Kendal in the TIMES on sex and The Vortex (excerpt below)
Felicity Kendal promises that one day she will write a book about her sex life. This will be terribly exciting news for the millions who have fancied her since she played the green-wellied, pert-jeaned Barbara Good in The Good Life. But if the book is even half as good as White Cargo, her first volume of memoirs published ten years ago, it will be worth reading even if you were among the weird minority who preferred her co-star, Penelope Keith – or Richard Briers, for that matter. We need not, however, hold our breath.
“I’d have to be 90,” she says. “Or 85. Let’s say 80. Then I could spill all the beans. What I wouldn’t want to write is a sort of luvvie diary of good reviews and funny stories that happened at the end of the play I was in. It’s not interesting. But I guess if I got to be – and I would really like to be 90 – then it would be nice to look back and write about sex, 30 years of it. That would be good, but it wouldn’t be good now.” I’m sure it would be good, but it might cause collateral damage to the living. Her first marriage to an actor who suffered from a depressive illness and by whom she had a son ended in the 1970s. She then, according to White Cargo, entered her own version of “the raving 1960s” and for a decade was never without a lover. In 1983, after an affair with the screenwriter Robert Bolt, she married the theatre producer Michael Rudman and had another boy by him. She left Rudman for Tom Stoppard, who, scandalously at the time, deserted his wife, Miriam. For the past decade she has been back with Rudman. We now face an agonising two-decade wait for further particulars: Miss Kendal is still only a spry 61.
THE VORTEX Apollo Theatre
(2Oth Feb – 7th June ’08)
Author/Playwright: Noel Coward
Director: Sir Peter Hall
Cast: Felicity Kendal , Dan Stevens , Phoebe Nicholls
TV and stage icon Felicity Kendal leads a star cast as the glamorous socialite Florence Lancaster in Noel Coward’s renowned play about the frivolous nature and narcissism of London’s late 1920’s aristocracy.
Amidst a backdrop of glittering decadence The Vortex centres on the tempestuous relationship of Florence and her hedonistic son Nicky. With the Mother’s desire for younger men driven by her refusal to grow old, and the Son’s obsession with competing for her love, Florence Lancaster’s insatiable needs are fundamentally the crux of the “Vortex of beastliness” that drives Nicky to his demons.
Much loved for her illustrious television and stage career which includes The Good Life and Rosemary and Thyme, as well as her remarkable sell-out success in Fallen Angels in London’s West End, Felicity Kendal returns to the stage in Noel Coward’s highly acclaimed play.
Peter Hall – one of the UK’s most prolific and prestigious stage directors – directs a star cast including Dan Stevens best known for his outstanding performance in the BBC drama The Line of Beauty and for the recent West End production of Hay Fever, Phoebe Nicholls ‘Cordelia Flyte’ from Brideshead Revisited and Annette Badland Cutting It, Dr Who and Bergerac.