A delightfully disastrous evening with the Hurstpierpoint Players

Back row from left: Hannah Levene, Dan Russell, Sue Blair-Fish, Josie Porter, Vincent Whittaker and Sue Wicks. In front: Georgia Rushton-Read and Corbin Perry
Back row from left: Hannah Levene, Dan Russell, Sue Blair-Fish, Josie Porter, Vincent Whittaker and Sue Wicks. In front: Georgia Rushton-Read and Corbin Perry

Hay Fever, The Hurstpierpoint Players

Theatre-goers were given a real treat last week when The Hurstpierpoint Players staged their production of Noël Coward’s classic comedy Hay Fever.

Sue Wicks played the retired actress Judith Bliss with great aplomb, every bit as well as Judith herself would have done.

Newcomers Dan Russell (Sandy Tyrell) and Georgia Rushton-Read (Sorel Bliss) looked so at home on the stage that one could believe that they were ‘old hands’ at this acting business.

The play begins one Saturday afternoon in June (circa 1930s) when Sorel and Simon Bliss (Corbin Perry) reveal that they have each invited a guest to stay for the weekend, as has their mother Judith. They all argue about who should occupy ‘the Japanese room’ when husband and father of the Bliss family David (Michael Squire) announces that he too has invited a guest. She’s ‘a sweet little flapper’ Jackie Coryton (Hannah Levene), down for the weekend, and she will be sleeping in the Japanese room.

Chaos ensues, starting with a disastrous parlour game and ending with each member of the Bliss family having a mini liaison with one of the guests, but not the one that they had invited, and overreacting in a most dramatic way.

Richard Greatham (Vincent Whittaker) falls into Judith’s hands, while Myra Arundel (Sue Blair-Fish) is seduced by David.

By the following morning, while the guests are all desperate to get as far away as possible, the Bliss family themselves are all quite oblivious to the horrors of the previous evening.

While the guests quietly escape, the Bliss family continue to argue loudly, this time about the geography of Paris, as it is presented in David’s book, The Sinful Woman.

Trying to hold the house and family together, is long suffering and put-upon Clara, Judith’s former dresser (Josie Porter), whose withering looks could curdle milk.

Annette Squire directed this feast of frolics and a jolly ripping time was had by all.

The Players’ next production will be Habeas Corpus, by Alan Bennett, starting on Tuesday, September 18, as part of the Hurst Festival.

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