Previewed 19 March 2014, Opened 14 April 2014, Closed 21 June 2014 at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London
A major revival of Noel Coward's Relative Values in London starring Patricia Hodge and Caroline Quentin and directed by Trevor Nunn which comes into the West End following an acclaimed season at the Theatre Royal in Bath.
Set in 1950s Kent where the wealthy Marshwood family are thrown into turmoil by the young earl's announcement that he intends to marry a Hollywood film actress - but then the family finds out that the starlet's sister is none other his mother's maid! Attempting to cope with this deeply embarrassing situation, the maid is dressed up in her ladyship's cast-offs as the aristocratic family endeavours to pass her off as one of their own.
The cast for Relative Values in London features Patricia Hodge as 'Felicity, Countess of Marshwood', Caroline Quentin as the maid 'Moxie' and Rory Bremner as the butler 'Crestwell' (up to 24 May 2014) and Steven Pacey as 'Peter' who are all reprising their roles from the Theatre Royal Bath they will be joined for the West End run by Leigh Zimmerman as 'Miranda Frayle'. Neil Morrissey takes over the role of the butler 'Crestwell' from 26 May to 21 June 2014. The production is directed by Trevor Nunn with designs by Stephen Brimson-Lewis, lighting by Tim Mitchell, sound by Fergus O'Hare and music by Steven Edis.
When this production opened in London Kate Bassett in the Times said it was a "winningly droll production." Michael Billington in the Guardian wrote: "I can't imagine NoŽl Coward's 1951 light comedy being much better done than it is here... but, while there's much pleasure to be had from the stylish acting and direction, Coward's play remains a musty, tribal relic in praise of the class system." In the Daily Telegraph Charles Spencer commented that "Trevor Nunn can sometimes be a ponderous director but his production of this comedy has exactly the right lightness of touch," adding that "Patricia Hodge gives a masterclass in high comic style... Caroline Quentin gives a wonderful comic performance... and there is a lovely omniscient turn from Rory Bremner as the Jeevesian butler... there isn't a weak link in the cast." When this same production was seen last year in Bath, Elizabeth David in the Indepentent highlighted that while "some of the dialogue is flabby and the resolution comes about a touch too suddenly... there's plenty to enjoy in this beautifully designed, deftly directed 'comedy of manors'" and Neil Norman in the Daily Express described it as being "an elegant, assured production."
"NoŽl Coward's at times uproariously funny farce probably felt out of step with the times even in 1951... The action, which all takes place in the library, is motored by the misgivings of a lady's maid, Moxie, about the future master's engagement to a Hollywood siren. It is an abundantly silly piece, played for belly laughs, that reaches giddily delightful heights of farce in a pre-interval bout of mad misunderstandings, but takes too long putting everything back in its place in the last act." The Sunday Times
"This study of a man marrying outside his class is, on the surface, a frothy comedy. Tragedy and a sense of despair at the human condition are, however, to be found in the undercurrents. Trevor Nunn and his players - with one notable exception - have an exquisite skill at communicating human frailty... The piece starts off slowly, but picks up speed in the second act... It is a great-looking and stylish production - the designer Stephen Brimson Lewis has created a beautiful drawing room - and Patricia Hodge is so good in her role I'd be surprised if it didn't finally concentrate minds on her getting that DBE. The weak link is, alas, Rory Bremner doing a comedy turn as her butler... It is a crying shame: with a proper actor in the role, this would have been a five-star production." The Sunday Telegraph
"If the words 'Noel Coward', 'comedy of manners' and 'Rory Bremner' strike fear into your heart, be not afraid. It turns out to be an agreeable combination indeed... So many things make this worth seeing - Bremner's theatre debut, 1951 newsreels between scenes, an enchanting set, wit, warmth, brilliant observations and sterling performances from every cast member. Special mentions must go to Patricia Hodge and Caroline Quentin, who manages to bring the house down just by lighting a cigarette. All in all, relatively wonderful." The Sunday Mirror
Relative Values in London at the Harold Pinter Theatre previewed from 19 March 2014, opened on 14 April 2014 and closed on 21 June 2014.