Farce adapted by Nicki Frei and Peter Hall from Georges Feydeau's Occupe-toi d'Amélie (Keep an Eye on Amelia). Millie is an ambitious grande cocotte, a high class Parisian whore at the end of the last century. But Millie is no tart with a heart of gold - she is greedy, amoral and (like all Feydeau's characters) completely selfish, pretending to be respectable even when negotiating the next major deal for her favours. Trouble begins when her lover, Etienne, leaves her in the charge of his friend Marcel, who has his own financial and romantic agenda. The story develops into the fast, furious and outrageous farce for which Faydeau is renowned.
Georges Feydeau's Occupe-toi d'Amélie was also the basis of Noel Coward's earlier adaptation called Look After Lulu which has played two West End seasons.
Look After Lulu - Original London West End Production 1959
Opened 29 July 1959, Closed 5 September 1959 at the Royal Court Theatre
Opened 8 September 1959, Closed 12 December 1959 at the New Theatre (now Noel Coward Theatre)
Adaptation by Noel Coward. The West End cast at the New Theatre featured Vivien Leight as 'Lulu d'Arville' and Anthony Quayle as 'Marcel Blanchard' with Peter Sallis as 'Herr van Putzebourm', Max Adrian as 'Prince of Salestria', Meriel Forbes as 'Claire, Duchess of Clausonnes' and Robert Stephens as 'Philippe de Croze'. Directed by Tony Richardson with sets by Roger Furse and costumes by M Berman. A transfer from the Royal Court Theatre in London where the original cast included George Devine as 'Herr van Putzebourm' and Peter Sallis as 'General Koschnadieff'.
Look After Lulu - 1st West End Revival 1978
Previewed 4 October 1978, Opened 9 October 1978, Closed 9 December 1978 at the Haymarket Theatre Royal
Adaptation by Noel Coward. The cast featured Geraldin McEwan as 'Lulu d'Arville' and Clive Francis as 'Marcel Blanchard' with Nigel Stock as 'Herr van Putzebourm', Peter Bowles as 'Prince of Salestria', Fenella Fielding as 'Claire, Duchess of Clausonnes', Gary Raymond as 'Philippe de Croze' and Paul Hardwick as 'General Koschnadieff'. Directed by Patrick Garland with designs by Carl Toms and lighting by Mick Hughes.
A transfer from the Chichester Festival Theatre where the original cast included Kenneth Haigh as 'Prince of Salestria', John Warner as 'General Koschnadieff' and Richard Morant as 'Philippe de Croze'.
Mind Millie For Me - Original London West End Production 1996
Previewed 24 April 1996, Opened 7 May 1996, Closed 15 June 1996 at the Haymarket Theatre Royal
Adaptation by Nicki Frei and Peter Hall. The cast featured Felicity Kendal as 'Millie Pochet', Neil Pearson as 'Marcel' and Nicholas le Prevost as 'Etienne' with Peter Blythe as 'The Prince of Palestria', Carmen Du Sautoy as 'Countess Irene', Peter Cellier as 'General Koschnadieff', John Fraser as 'Van Putzeboumboum' and Robert Lang as Millie's father, 'Pochet'. Directed by Peter Hall with designs by Gerald Scarfe and lighting by Joe Atkins.
Prior opening at the West End's Haymarket Theatre, this production toured regionally under the title Emily Needs Attention. Alfred Marks originally played the role of Millie's father, 'Pochet', be he had to withdraw from the production prior to it opening in London due to ill health. He sadly died a few months later on 1 July 1996.
"For those men who consider an occasional glimpse of Felicity Kendall's stocking tops and suspenders worth a trip to London's West End - are there any who don't? - the Georges Feydeau farce, Mind Millie For Me is pure heaven. And with TV heart-throb Neil Pearson displaying a nice comic touch, Peter Hall's production has something for the ladies, too. But Sir Peter's adaptation, with his wife Nicki Frei, of this 1908 madcap play has, in reducing it to a two-intervals-included 160 minutes, diluted Feydeau's rapier-sharp observation and reduced many of the laughs from guffaws to giggles. A plot about Parisian dandies and wealthy women who are obsessed with money and social climbing almost as much as they are with mistresses and lovers is embellished with such diversions as a ball of string, two sparklers, and a pig's mask (don't ask)! This kind of lunacy, plus Gerald Scarfe's riot-of-colours sets and some knockabout performances from such farce masters as Robert Lang and Nicholas Le Prevost, make Millie a thoroughly modern, if not quite magnificent evening." The News of the World
"By drastically cutting the text, Nicki Frei and Peter Hall exclude some of its naturalistic detail: in particular the dreamy sensuality of life in Millie's apartment. And the jet-propelled style of playing doesn't leave much room to explore Feydeau's gentle despair. Only at the end do we get a glimpse of it when Felicity Kendal's Millie shows a genuine yearning to be accepted as an authentic bride. But, within its own terms, the production is very successful at garnering laughs. Gerald Scarfe's designs are full of bright greens and reds and, in the case of Millie's bedroom, a riot of sexual symbols. And, intriguingly, the minor characters come off spectacularly well... Felicity Kendal catches splendidly Millie's mixture of vivacity and good-heartedness. She effectively propels a thoroughly pleasant evening which conveys Feydeau's genius for situation: all I miss is the heartbreak that permeates the hectic invention." The Guardian
"Peter Hall has collaborated with Nicki Frei on an adaptation of Feydeau's Occupe-toi d'Amelie and, helped by Gerald Scarfe's grotesque sets and monster wigs, given the play a revival that does not try to render the charmless charming or the French cosily Anglo-Saxon. I found the evening funny, sometimes very funny, occasionally hilarious; but I saw why most of the first-night audience were not indulging in those curious acrobatics known as rolling in the aisles. After all, the laws of farce decree that laughter comes when staid characters are in danger of being shocked or conventional ones are plunged into morally threatening situations. A bishop looks funnier than a prostitute if forced to hide in a cupboard, and funnier still if he is ignominiously escaping a respectable husband, not some tolerant dandy. But all the major characters here scorn bourgeois values, and some of them are pretty nasty people. Imagine a farce involving coke-snorting Sloanes and promiscuous Henries in SW1, and you have not only the modern equivalent of Mind Millie for Me but an indication of the problems facing a modern director and his audience. Felicity Kendal's Millie, a spritely sort content to confess herself a 'tart', is the most appealing character onstage." The Times
Mind Millie For Me in London at the Haymarket Theatre Royal previewed from 24 April 1996, opened on 7 May 1996 and closed on 15 June 1996