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Review Round-Ups

Mixed bag for Kendal-led Hay Fever

Lindsay Posner's production has transferred from Bath to the West End via Australia

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Felicity Kendal (Judith Bliss) and Simon Shepherd (David Bliss) in Hay Fever
© Nobby Clark

Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage


"It's a soufflé about nothing at all: except social embarrassment, rudeness to guests and turning your domestic life into a charade then a melodrama."

"Felicity Kendal is so funny and frizzy as Judith, the bubble-brained châtelaine of Cookham who doesn't know her hyacinths from her calceolarias"

"The only trouble with Posner's production is that anxiety has translated into over-zealous noise."

Sam Marlowe, The Times


"Posner's... production, although not adventurous, is an effervescent pleasure, with a starring performance from Felicity Kendal as the retired actress Judith Bliss that is breathtaking in its wit and precision."

"Peter McKintosh's wood-panelled design of tasteful clutter creates an air of insouciant chaos and the costumes are gorgeous"

"Sara Stewart is superb as the predatory sexpot... Michael Simkins plays a dumbfounded diplomat with a sense of fascination and discreet horror."

Mark Shenton, The Stage


"Watching this redundant, mostly lifeless production of Hay Fever... I felt that Bath and Posner might have been better leaving it at home."

"Coward's alternately brittle and brutal comedy is reduced to a series of posturing attitudes, and any laughs are almost entirely drained out of the play."

"There are a couple of saving graces in the supporting performances of Michael Simkins and Sara Stewart as two of the guests, but it's only a small mercy."

Jane Shilling, Daily Telegraph


"Critics at the premiere complained that Hay Fever was short on 'witty lines': the comedy lies in the tension between what is said and what is felt."

"Kendal grasps this instinctively; her performance is a positive mille-feuille of theatricality, fading sexual allure and suppressed rage, spun around a core of pathos."

"If the rest of the eight-strong cast had matched Kendal's full-beam interpretation, this would have been a breathtaking production."

Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times


"Posner is now more often a director of care than of flair, and what distinguishes his staging of Hay Fever is its refusal to go over the top even when positively required."

"Kendal... simply doesn't display the energy the role demands."

"This lack of oomph spreads through the company, from Michael Simkins playing a buttoned-up diplomat but giving too buttoned-up a performance to Simon Shepherd who seems miscast as Judith's novelist husband."