Coward’s savage portrayal of 1920s cocktail society centres on the tempestuous relationship between glamorous socialite Florence Lancaster (Kendal) and her hedonistic musician son Nicky (Stevens), whose new girlfriend is wooed by Florence’s toyboy lover. The Vortex (the title refers to the "youth vortex of beastliness") launched the then 25-year-old Noel Coward’s career as a playwright and leading man.
Felicity Kendal was seen in the West End last year in Hall’s revival of David Hare’s Amy’s View. Dan Stevens starred alongside Judi Dench last year in Coward’s Hay Fever at the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket, also directed by Hall.
The last major London revival of The Vortex starred Chiwetel Ejiofor and Francesca Annis at the Donmar Warehouse in 2002. Last year, Manchester’s Royal Exchange made headlines with its production, which featured pop star Will Young making his professional stage debut as Nicky (See News, 22 Jun 2006).
Kendal and Stevens are joined in the cast of Hall’s production by Phoebe Nicholls, Barry Stanton, Annette Badland, Daniel Pirrie, Paul Ridley, Cressida Trew, Timothy Speyer and Vivien Keene. Set design is by Alison Chitty, with lighting by Paul Pyant, sound by Gregory Clarke, movement by Laila Diallo and music by Mick Sands.
Currently at the Apollo, James Macdonald’s revival of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, starring Jonathan Pryce and Aidan Gillen, finishes its limited season on 12 January 2008. The Vortex is playing this month at the Theatre Royal Windsor, where it opened on 13 November and continues until 1 December 2007. Launching its new year schedule on 21 January 2008, it visits Bath, Woking, Richmond and Malvern, where its tour concludes on 16 February prior to the West End transfer.
- by Tom Atkins