Noel and Gertie, devised and directed by Morley, features extracts from some of Coward's most popular plays - including Blithe Spirit and the balcony scene from Private Lives - as well as more than a dozen musical numbers from Coward's catalogue, such as "Someday I'll Find You", "I'll See You Again" and "Why Must the Show Go On?".
In the 1930s, Coward and Lawrence were one of the most famous partnerships in show business, rivalling the on-screen pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers. They first met in 1913 when he was 13 and she 14 and remained firm friends for 40 years. They created stage history when they co-starred in the London and New York productions of Coward's comedies Private Lives and Tonight at 8.30.
Noel and Gertie was first seen at the Hong Kong Festival in 1982. Since then it has been seen in over 30 major productions worldwide, including a six-month run in New York. It had a West End run at the Donmar Warehouse in 1986.
An internationally renowned drama critic for The Spectator and now The International Herald Tribune, Morley has written more than 20 books about the arts, including biographies of John Gielgud and David Niven in addition to Coward. As a director, his other credits include the 1999 West End revival of Coward's A Song at Twilight, which starred Vanessa and Corin Redgrave.
- by Sarah Beaumont