About "The Vortex" by Noel Coward


On the 25th of November 1924 an audience at the Everyman Theatre Hampstead, London, witnessed the first performance of a play that was to shock and scandalise London society. It was also to revolutionise the theatre of the time and become a Classic of British Drama.

The play was "The Vortex" and the playwright was Noel Coward, astonishingly just twenty four years old at the time. The play was a phenomenal success and launched Coward's career as the most successful British playwright of the next four decades.

No one had dared to show London high-society of the time in its true light before; spoilt, frivolous but, above all, rotten and decadent. Coward's play held-up the 'mirror' to London society and society didn't like what it saw, while the rest of the world looked on in shock!

The play, written and set in 1920s London, revolves around the word of socialite Florence Lancaster and her circle of friends and family. A great beauty who has led a life of considerable promiscuity with much younger admirers, Florence now refuses to accept the reality of age and is pursuing her latest conquest Tom, a handsome but dull, young Guards officer.

It is when Florence's son, Nicky, returns home from life in Paris to introduce his fiancee, Bunty, to his mother, that the play turns from an amusing drawing-room comedy into something far more serious.

Nicky is horrified to find that, not only is his mother notorious in London society for her promiscuity but that her latest lover, Tom, is of his own age. Worse still, he learns that Tom was previously engaged to Bunty.

Nicky, an aspiring pianist - and a role Coward created for himself - has his own demons though and, in a series of brilliantly written scenes, is forced to admit weaknesses in his own lifestyle.

The climax of the play is the famous, final scene set in Florence's bedroom and one that owes a debt to Hamlet's anguished "closet scene" with Gertrude.

Son confronts mother over her appalling lifestyle but mother retaliates against son over his own. They fight, they scream, they cry, they abuse each other until, with both exhausted, the play reaches its climax; It is one of the great scenes in British drama.

In fact the whole play unravels a network of hidden, past and forbidden relationships that the paying public of the time would have found shocking to watch.

"The Vortex" is above all else, though, a play about sexual vanity and emotional dependency. As such, its theme is as relevant to life today as it was in the 1920s.

At times full of witty, satirical, cutting humour and at others a cruel expose of a corrupt high society, "The Vortex" has long been acclaimed as one of Coward's best plays and certainly one of his most perceptive.

The play and its central character of Florence, has also attracted some of the world's great actresses.

Coward himself wrote, directed and starred in the play that would run for a year in London and would ensure he would never be poor again.

It signalled the start of a prolific writing career in which he produced over 40 plays and musicals, around 10 films and TV scripts, 15 musical revues and cabarets, not to mention his books of short stories and memoirs. All this is staggering considering Noel also directed, acted and sang in the majority of the work he produced.

A Star-Studded Line Up

Jane Seymour OBE
(starring in the lead role of "Florence Lancaster")

Award-winning British actress, Jane Seymour OBE, will be making her Asian debut in live theatre, starring in the lead role of "Florence Lancaster". As the winner of the prestigious Emmy Award as well as two Golden Globe Awards, Jane Seymour's outstanding work has been recognized and honoured with a 'star' on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, on Hollywood Boulevard.

Her career and path to stardom was launched by the James Bond movie "Live and Let Die", in which she starred opposite Roger Moore. Subsequently she starred in a succession of hit movies on television and the big screen, including "Onassis - The Richest Man in the World" (Emmy Award); "East of Eden" (Golden Globe Award), "Somewhere in Time" and "War and Remembrance". Her television series "Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman", won her a second Golden Globe Award and has endeared her to audiences worldwide. Seymour also starred in the original Broadway production of Peter Shaffer's "Amadeus" opposite Ian McKellan. Making a return to the big screen, Seymour's latest movie "Bereave", in which she stars opposite Keith Carradine and Malcolm McDowell, will be released worldwide in January 2016.

For more information on Jane Seymour, visit www.janeseymour.com

James Cartwright
(who plays "Tom Veryan")

James Cartwright is acknowledged as one of the finest young British actors of his generation.

James is a winner of the Royal Television Society "Best Actor" award; nominee for the West End "Best Leading Actor" Award 2014 and winner of the highly prestigious, Edinburgh Festival "Fringe First" award 2015, for his one-man show "RAZ".

He has appeared in several Royal National Theatre productions as well as starring in the BBCTV series "Johnny Shakespeare" and "Holby City".

In London's West End he starred in ''The Rise and Fall of Little Voice'' at the Vaudeville Thetare, a play written by his father the playwright, Jim Cartwright.

James returns to the British Theatre Playhouse in the role of "Tom Veryan" in Noel Coward's classic play "The Vortex".

Bob Tomson

Acclaimed West End director Bob Tomson, will be directing "The Vortex". Bob's impressive directorial portfolio includes "Blood Brothers" in London: a production which won every UK Best Musical Award and was nominated for three Olivier Awards. On Broadway the show earned him a Tony Award nomination. In the West End, he also directed "Dreamboats and Petticoats", "Scrooge", productions of "Evita" and the Olivier Award nominated comedy "On The Piste". Bob will shortly be directing the London West End production of Jeff Wayne's musical version of "The War of the Worlds", starring Liam Neeson.

Michael Holt

The set designer will be Michael Holt, whose West End credits include "The Woman in Black"; "Absurd Person Singular" (Whitehall Theatre), "The Glory of the Garden" (Duke of York's Theatre), "Rough Justice" (Apollo Theatre) and "June Moon" (Vaudeville Theatre), also designed "Julius Caesar" at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre as well as the highly successful centennial touring production of "Charley's Aunt".

Alex Spinney
(who plays "Nicky Lancaster")

Alex is an exciting young actor and a graduate of the Royal College of Music.
In The Vortex, Alex plays the role of Jane Seymours pianist son Nicky (the leading role played by Noel Coward himself in 1924) and he has appeared in musical concert versions of Little Me: Les Miserables and A Little Night Music and the Karen Rabinowitz production of Neil Simons comedy California Suite.

Arthur Bostrom:
(who plays "Pauncefort Quentin")

Arthur is famous to TV audiences and fans of Allo Allo worldwide for his portray of Officer Crabtree, the idiotic English undercover officer, disguised constantly as a French gendarme.
Arthur is also well-known to audiences for appearances in Doctors Big Brother and Miss Marple.

Kate Malyon
(who plays "Bunty Mainwaring")

Kate has just completed a season at the Lyric Theatre in London in the play "The Boy Who Never Grew Up.

A graduate of the famous Mountview Performing Arts School, Kate was a member of Mark Rylances 2015 actors company at the Globe Shakespeare Theatre in London. She has also appeared in plays at the Young Vic, the Soho Theatre and toured the UK and USA in Let Newton Be.

Tracy Brabin
(who plays "Clara Hibbert")

Tracy has appeared in many of the UKs most popular TV series.
Her credits include roles in Doctors; Emmerdale Farm; Holby City; Casualty and The Syndicate. Her West End theatre credits include playing three roles in Daniel Evans production of The Full Monty.

Julie Teal
(who plays “Helen Saville”)

Julie is a graduate at The Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art..

She started off in repertory theatre in Dundee in Bernard Shaw’s classic You Never Can Tell, swiftly followed by seasons at the Bristol Old Vic, York Theatre Royal, Liverpool Playhouse and many more. Extensive national tours have been a joy, exploring many cities and towns up and down the UK. Accompanying me on these tours was my dog, Lucy, a rescue dog and a wedding gift from my husband. Lucy even played Montmorency in Three Men In a Boat; she behaved impeccably for one show a day but was clearly bored when required to do two!.

Her favourite roles include Myra Arundel in Hay Fever, Paulina in Death and the Maiden, Lady Macbeth, Simpson in Tons of Money, Lizzie in Taking Steps, Mrs Norris in Mansfield Park and most recently Aunt Jane in Lady Anna all at Sea, an Anthony Trollope adaptation which having played at The Park Theatre in London last autumn embarks on a short tour in June..

Television credits include Midsomer Murders, Class Act, Touch of Frost, Casualty, Touching Evil, She’s Out and Eastenders..

Julie also had a very busy audio career. Radio plays, dubbing films and commercials but predominantly recording audio books which she loves. Narrating the whole book and playing all the characters is a great challenge and, as Julie says, “I get to play parts I would never be cast in!”

John Fagan
(who plays “Preston” and “Bruce”)

A native of County Meath in Ireland, John grew up and worked on a dairy farm and worked with racehorses as a teenager before gaining an Economics degree from Trinity College Dublin after which he worked as a journalist and hedge fund accountant.

Deciding to concentrate on acting full-time, he studied at East 15 in London and most recently John appeared in Birmingham Rep's UK & Ireland tour of the Oscar winning film “The King's Speech” and the Royal National Theatre's production of “Emperor & Galilean”.

Over the years he has appeared in various stage and TV productions in the UK , Ireland , Germany and Australia and is delighted to be visiting beautiful Singapore again having just returned from a great trip to Vietnam.

"THE VORTEX" by Noel Coward

  Jubilee Hall Theatre, Raffles Hotel, Singapore

  27 April - 15 May 2016

  Jubilee Hall Theatre, Raffles Hotel, Singapore

  27 April - 15 May 2016

"See & Save"

All ticket holders can enjoy 20% discount off their F&B bills at Tiffin Room, Raffles Courtyard and Bar & Billard Room on the day of the show at Raffles Hotel, Singapore. And also at Prego, Asian Market Café, Café Swiss, Kopitiam, Equinox, Lobby Court, City Space and Alligator Pear at Swissotel The Stamford.

"See & Stay"

Ticket holders can enjoy a special room rate at the Raffles Hotel, Fairmont Hotel and Swissotel The Stamford in Singapore as appended below:

Raffles Hotel

SGD$395++ per night with one breakfast for Raffles Inc Suite and SGD$495++ per night with one breakfast for Courtyard Suite.

Fairmont Singapore

Deluxe Room: S$270++ per night with one breakfast and internet Fairmont Premier Room: S$300++ per night with one breakfast and internet

Swissotel The Stamford

Classic Room: S$240++ per night with one breakfast and internet

Classic Harbourview Room: S$290++ per night with one breakfast and internet

Note: Terms and conditions apply. Subject to black-out dates stipulated by the hotels.

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