Coward completes the season for Company of 10

The Vortex

The Vortex - Credit: Archant

Glitz and glamour from the Jazz Age comes to the stage of the Abbey Theatre in the forthcoming Company of Ten production of Noel Coward’s The Vortex,

Famous for his comedies, such as Private Lives and Blithe Spirit, Coward is also renowned for dramatic works including the screenplays for Brief Encounter and In Which We Serve.

The Vortex, written in 1924, was Coward’s first success and is a combination of the two genres. It blends his signature witty banter with a darker undercurrent, which shocked and intrigued audiences at the time - to the extent that it was almost banned.

Some of the subject matter was so controversial that The Lord Chancellor did not give permission for it to be performed until the night before it opened.

Florence Lancaster, an ageing socialite, surrounds herself with sycophantic hangers-on and floats selfishly from one social engagement to another.


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Although married, she takes a succession of lovers half her age. The latest is Tom Veryan, described by Coward as “athletic and good looking… one feels he is good at games and extremely bad at everything else”.

Refusing to grow old gracefully, Florence is stopped in her tracks when her son, Nicky, a talented musician in his twenties, comes home from his travels with a fiancée, Bunty, who also happens to be an old flame of Tom Veryan.

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Director, Tim Hoyle, said: “The Vortex is a real mix of comedy and drama that will make you laugh but also think. It explores the darker side of the 1920’s Cocktail Party Set. There is emotional blackmail, drug abuse and shattered relationships as the play unfolds.”

Performances take place on the Abbey Theatre main stage at 8pm next Friday and Saturday, July 3 and 4, at 2.30pm on Sunday, July 5, and at 8pm again from July 7 to 11.

To book tickets go to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or call the box office on 01727 857861.

* The charity night for The Vortex in aid of the Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline is being held next Thursday, July 2.

Tickets are £12.50 and can be purchased in advance from Stuart Nagler on 01923 854519 or by email to r.nagler@btinternet.com

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