Sophia is Backstage! at Hayfever


by Sophia Moseley


I carried out a quick exit poll after being entertained by the Wessex Actors Company with their performance of Noel Coward’s 1925 play ‘Hay Fever’. Without fail every person I spoke to exclaimed how much they had enjoyed the play and one audience member asked in heightened anticipation,

“How many more nights are they here?”

But not only was this their one and only night at the Marine, it was also one of their very last shows as Joe Puttick has taken the sad decision to vacate the director’s chair and call it a day for this brilliant theatre company that started back in 2010.

And of course the Marine lends itself so perfectly to this play that is set during the inter-war years which is also when the theatre was converted into a place of entertainment.

Whilst Noel Coward would perhaps be disappointed the company is to be disbanded, I have no doubt he would have given them a standing ovation as the actors and actresses portrayed perfectly the mad and maddening Bliss family who subjected their four guests to a relentless barrage of bizarre and eccentric behaviour!

The stage set also helped with its simplicity and black and white colour scheme, accentuating the far from simple and definitely not black & white characters of the Bliss family.

Everything happened in the one room except when they went out into the garden when they cleverly used the gangway cutting through the audience as a garden path which is where much of the confusion started for the bewildered guests.

“June has always been an unlucky month for me” says the mother, Judith Bliss as the pending chaos starts to take shape.

Hilarious and quick witted, unlucky for us we won’t be seeing the Wessex Actors Company tread our boards again.