The revival of the 1953 Broadway comedy about corporate greed, The Solid Gold Cadillac, starring Patricia Routledge and Roy Hudd, is now confirmed to open at the West End’s Garrick Theatre on 27 September 2004, following previews from 22 September and initial dates in Guildford and Malvern (See News, 16 Jul 2004).

Mrs Laura Partridge (Routledge) is an elderly lady. She holds a few shares in the General Products Corporation of America. Recently retired from the stage, she decides to use some of her new-found leisure to attend a shareholders’ AGM. At first, the newly promoted senior management of the GPCA barely registers her presence. But not for long. When it comes to confirming their massive salary increases by proxy vote, they find she has some rather awkward questions to ask.

Although perhaps best known as Hyacinth Bucket from TV’s Keeping Up Appearances, Routledge is a veteran stage actress, who has regularly appeared in productions for the National and the RSC as well as in the West End. Amongst her most notable credits are A Woman of No Importance and A Lady of Letters, which Alan Bennett wrote for her, and Candide (for which she won an Olivier Award). Most recently, she has appeared on stage in the Chichester productions of Wild Orchids and The Importance of Being Earnest, which transferred to the West End.

Hudd, who plays GPCA’s Edward McKeever, is well known for his TV programme The Roy Hudd Show and, since 1975, his long-running Radio 2 programme The News Huddlines. His stage credits include Underneath the Arches (for which he won an Olivier Award), Oliver!, Babes in the Woods, Hard Times, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Written by George S Kaufman and Howard Teichman and premiered on Broadway in 1953, The Solid Gold Cadillac was made into a 1956 film with Judy Holliday and Paul Douglas. It had its London stage premiere in 1965 in a production starring Margaret Rutherford and Sidney James.

The nine-strong cast of the new production also features David Ross, Lucy Briers, Fred Ridgeway, Nick Haverson and Kate-Lynn Hocking. The Solid Gold Cadillac is directed by West Yorkshire Playhouse artistic director Ian Brown and produced by Act Productions, in association with the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford.

Prior to the West End, it will play at Yvonne Arnaud (1 to 11 September) and at Malvern Festival Theatre (13-18 September).

- by Terri Paddock