Noel Coward's Waiting in the Wings is set in a retirement home for actresses and focuses on a feud between residents Lotta Bainbridge and May Davenport, who once both loved the same man. Director Aline Waites gives us five reasons to see it...


1. it is the 50th anniversary of this rarely-produced Noel Coward play. His 50th play, it first saw the light of day in the West End at the Duke of York's Theatre on 7 September 1960. That production starred Sybil Thorndike, Lewis Casson, Marie Lohr and Graham Payn. Noel wrote of it: "I wrote Waiting in the Wings with loving care, absolute belief in its characters and two of the best scenes I have ever written, while maintaining the basic truth that old age can be greeted with humour and lived with courage."

2. It has a stunning cast of nine actresses all over 60 years of age. "Proper" actors who have learned their trade - all of them have been in the business for over forty years. Many of them fifty years! And all glamorous! There are also many roles for younger people - mostly female!

3. The set is almost a museum piece. None of the furniture and props were created after 1960, when the play was set.

4. It has wonderful parts for 18 actors, and is a blow for Grey Pride. People complain about there being no parts for actors over 40 - what about actors over 60 or 70? This production proves that they are all still seaworthy vessels (what a terrible simile - but you know what I mean).

5. The main reason to see Waiting in the Wings is that we are all having such a great time, it is a lot of fun and I'm sure the audience will find it fun too. There is music and a little (not too lively) dancing, lots of laughs, a few little tears and a bit of drama.

Waiting in the Wings runs at the Pentameters Theatre, Hampstead from 2 to 18 September 2010 (previews from 31 August).