Coward trilogy to mark double anniversary

BATH Theatre Royal welcomes a trio of brilliant actors – Tara Fitzgerald, Stephen Boxer and Emma Fielding – to appear in a double anniversary production of Noel Coward’s Suite in Three Keys, from Tuesday 9th to 13th July. It is the first time in a generation that there has been a complete revival of the three plays. The production marks the 50th anniversary of Coward’s death and the 125th of his birth..

This rarely performed trilogy, performed in repertory across the week, is making an exclusive visit to Bath after opening at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond. The plays are the full-length A Song at Twilight, and the double bill of Shadows of the Evening and Come Into the Garden, Maud.

Set in 1965, in a private suite of the Hotel Beau Rivage, Switzerland, on the shore of Lake Geneva, three separate stories unfold. In A Song at Twilight, a famous, elderly writer faces blackmail at the hands of an ex-lover threatening to expose his secret past. Forming a double-bill and set in the same hotel suite, Shadows of the Evening explores the intricacies of a late-life love triangle, and Come into the Garden, Maud is a fizzing comedy about Americans abroad.

Director Tom Littler says: “Suite in Three Keys is an exquisite trio of plays representing Noël Coward’s final work for the theatre. Dating from the mid-1960s, these plays have all of Coward’s trademark wit and verbal invention whilst confronting themes of mortality, sexuality and honesty with remarkable daring.”

Tara Fitzgerald plays Carlotta Gray in A Song at Twilight, Linda Savignac in Shadows of the Evening and Maud Caragnani in Come into the Garden, Maud. Stephen Boxer plays Hugo Latymer in A Song at Twilight, George Hilgay in Shadows of the Evening and Verner Conklin in Come into the Garden, Maud. Emma Fielding plays Hilde Latymer in A Song at Twilight, Anne Hilgay in Shadows of the Evening and Anna-Mary Conklin in Come into the Garden, Maud. Across all three plays, Steffan Rizzi (Almeida, National Theatre, Wardrobe Theatre) plays the role of Felix, a waiter.

Nicknamed “The Master”, Noël Coward (1899 – 1973) was a playwright, actor, lyricist, director, composer, singer, producer and one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th Century. He was knighted in 1970. Coward had written more than 15 plays by the time he was in his mid-thirties and, despite his comparative youth, the first of many biographies had already been written about him. His best-known plays include Present Laughter, Hay Fever, Blithe Spirit and Private Lives. His work during the Second World War included film adaptations of his popular plays This Happy Breed and Blithe Spirit, and the screenplay for In Which We Serve. Suite in Three Keys was written in 1965 and received its premiere in 1966.

For the Bath run, A Song at Twilight will be performed on Tuesday 9th, Wednesday 10th and Friday 12th July at 7.30pm, and on Saturday 13th July at 2.30pm. Shadows of the Evening and Come into the Garden, Maud will be performed as a double-bill on Wednesday 10th at 2.30pm and Thursday 11th and Saturday 13th July at 7.30pm.

Photograph by Rebecca Need-Menear