“Hay Fever” Brings British Bad Manners to Quogue



“Hay Fever,” a comedy of British bad manners by Noel Coward, will complete the Hampton Theatre Company’s 30th anniversary season when it opens on Thursday, May 21 at the Quogue Community Hall. The production will run through June 7.

Inspired by a weekend spent at the home of the actress Laurent Taylor, where he was exposed to her “over-the-top theatrical lifestyle,” Noel Coward wrote “Hay Fever” in just three days. Opening in London in 1925 when Mr. Coward was 25, the madcap comedy won praise from both audiences and critics, who hailed it as funny, bright and cruel—all the attributes that later solidified Mr. Coward’s reputation as a brilliant playwright.

“Hay Fever” revolves around the four members of the eccentric and bohemian Bliss family, each of whom, without consulting the others, has invited a guest of the opposite sex to spend the weekend at their home in Cookham, 30 miles west of London. No sooner have all the guests arrived than any hopes of a pleasant weekend in the country are dashed by the self-involved romantic overtures and comically melodramatic misbehavior of their hosts.

“It is wonderfully appropriate that our 30th anniversary season is ending on a note of high comedy featuring three actors who were with the company in our first two seasons—Rosemary Cline, Andrew Botsford, and Diana Marbury—and another actor, Matt Conlon, whose involvement with the HTC dates back to the early 1990s,” noted Hampton Theatre Company Executive Director Sarah Hunnewell.

Ms. Cline, who has appeared in more than 30 of the company’s productions, plays Judith Bliss, a “rusticating” retired stage actress who finds country life in the role of “the squire’s wife” very boring indeed. Mr. Botsford, a veteran with more than 40 HTC productions to his credit, plays David Bliss, her self-absorbed novelist husband.

In addition to directing the production and providing the set décor, Hampton Theatre Company Artistic Director Diana Marbury also plays the role of Clara, Judith’s longtime dresser turned housekeeper, cook, and butler all in one.

Ms. Marbury’s most recent directing credits with the company include last fall’s “Harvey,” “God Of Carnage” and “How The Other Half Loves.” The set design for “Hay Fever” is by Peter-Tolin Baker; lighting is by Sebastian Paczynski; and costumes by Teresa LeBrun.

“Hay Fever” opens on May 21 and runs through June 7 at the Quogue Community Hall on Jessup Avenue. Showtimes are Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. To reserve show tickets, visit hamptontheatre.org, or call OvationTix at 1-866-811-4111.