‘Shocking’ Coward classic comes of age in Company of Ten revival

The Vortex

The Vortex - Credit: Archant

Shocked Hampstead audiences in 1924 will make way for more enlightened ones in St Albans when the Company of Ten stages The Vortex from this week.

Noel Coward’s play about Florence, an ageing nymphomaniac with a lover half her age, and her almost incestuous relationship with Nicky, her drug addicted son, caused outrage when it first appeared on stage .

Reviews were simultaneously shocked and enthusiastic but the public was so excited by the rumour of something rather immoral, that it was a sell-out and had a much fought-over transfer to the West End stage.

The Vortex, penned by the 24-year-old Coward, became his first big success and marked him as one of England’s most talented playwrights. It caused such a demand for his plays that by June 1925 he had four shows running in the West End.

Tim Hoyle, who is directing the play for the Company of Ten, said: “For a long time I have been a fan of Coward’s work as a writer and performer. I have kept the 20s setting as I feel it is key to the atmosphere of the play.

“Our stage designers, props team and wardrobe department have worked very hard to create the authenticity of the Jazz Age.”

Performances take place on the Abbey Theatre Main Stage at 8pm tomorrow and Saturday, at 2.30pm on Sunday and again from 8pm from Tuesday, July 7 until Saturday, July 11

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To book tickets go to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or call the box office on 01727 0857861