Written in 1956 during Coward's self-exile in Jamaica, this will be the first major production of the play, which was originally envisioned for Katharine Hepburn. Inspired by an affair between Coward’s friend Ian Fleming (author of the Bond novels) and a plantation-owning society beauty, it gives a "fascinating insight into the decadent, scandal-ridden Caribbean lifestyle" that Coward and his fellow ex-pats enjoyed.
Recently widowed, Adela Shelly (Seagrove) finds herself being wooed by the suave and charismatic Guy Littleton, a visitor to her elegant Caribbean house on the side of an island volcano. When Guy’s acid-tongued wife, Melissa, decides to fly in and see off Adela, she doesn’t count on Adela’s best friend, Ellen, also falling for Guy’s charms. As tensions begin to bubble under the surface, so does the volcano and the results are explosive.
Jenny Seagrove's recent credits include Rufus Norris’ West End production of Clifford Odets’ The Country Girl. Other credits include Peter Hall’s production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce and A Daughter’s A Daughter. She starred as Emma Harte in the Emmy nominated series A Woman of Substance and is also well-known for her many television roles, most notably QC Jo Mills in the BBC series Judge John Deed.
Noël Coward’s best-known plays include Private Lives, Hay Fever, Present Laughter and Blithe Spirit. He first visited Jamaica in the 1940s and subsequently built a house there where he entertained everyone from Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra to Winston Churchill and the Queen Mother. He died there in 1973.
Volcano opens at the Theatre Royal, Windsor from 21 May to 2 June 2012, before visiting Richmond Theatre (4-9 June), Theatre Royal, Bath (11-16 June), Cambridge Arts (18-23 June), Devonshire Park, Eastbourne (25-30 June), Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford (9-14 July), Oxford Playhouse (16-21 July), Theatre Royal, Brighton (23-28 July), Churchill, Bromley (30 July-4 August) and Festival Theatre, Malvern (6-11 August).
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