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Previewed 14 August 2012, opened 16 August 2012, closed 29 September 2012 at the Vaudeville Theatre in London
The first major West End production of Noel Coward's play Volcano in London starring Jenny Seagrove, Dawn Steele and Jason Durr.
Recently widowed Adela Shelly finds herself being seduced by the suave Guy Littleton, a visitor to her elegant Pacific house on the side of an island volcano. When Guy's acid-tongued wife Melissa decides to fly in to see off the competition, she hasn't contemplated that Adela's best friend, Ellen, might also be falling for her husband... and as tensions bubble up from under the surface and begin to erupt, so does the volcano, all with explosive consequences...
Never performed in the author's lifetime due to the climate at the time, this is the first major production of a work which gives a fascinating insight into the glamorous and sometimes scandalous island lifestyle which Noel Coward himself enjoyed.
This production of Volcano in London features Jenny Seagrove, Dawn Steele and Jason Durr along with Finty Williams, Perdita Avery, Robin Sebastian and Tim Daish. The production is directed by Roy Marsden with designs by Simon Scullion, lighting by Mike Robertson and sound by Matthew Bugg.
"In this rediscovered play, staged here by Roy Marsden, NoŽl Coward relocates the action from around his own expatriate community on Jamaica to a Micronesian island, and overdoes the symbolism by sticking his characters on the slopes of a . . . yes . . . an intermittently active volcano. Though it was written in 1956, it received its premiere in a staged reading only in 1989, some 16 years after the author's death. To say that this is unsurprising is a helpful equivocation. It certainly has more than its share of clunking lines... For much of the first act, it often seems like the most stilted kind of suburban adultery drama transposed to the South Pacific... This is not a great drama belatedly unveiled, but it is an agreeably intriguing way to pass an evening in the dog days of summer." The Financial Times
"The play was written during the Master's controversial tax-exile in Jamaica during the days of waning colonial rule and it derives from his observation of the antics of his fellow-expats, especially Ian Fleming on whom he loosely based the lothario Guy Littleton... The trouble is - and even an actor as attractive as Jason Durr cannot surmount it - Coward has not lent a single redeeming feature to this upper-crust sleazeball... It's a curious piece that comes alive in flashes. If Coward had gone into rehearsal with it, his blue pencil would doubtless have thinned the more novelettish passages in the dialogue... and the piece, which in the second half keeps teetering on the brink of a disaster spoof, is acute about how concentration on worthless men is destructive of intimacy between women... Apart from one mention of a black funeral down by the harbour, this feels an artificially all-white affair. Though Adela gropes at one point for the name of Madame Ranevskaya, this is no Cherry Orchard of the colonies. But there is one determined attempt to kick the closet door ajar." The Independent
Volcano in London at the Vaudeville Theatre previewed from 14 August 2012, opened on 16 August 2012 and closed on 29 September 2012.