Ways and Means (1989)

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Poster by Poster Designer

by Noël Coward

Directed by W. Malcolm Woodman

Performances: Sun 6th – Sat 12th August 1989, Bell Theatre


Presented in a Triple Bill with Come into the Garden Maud (1989) and Shadows of the Evening (1989)

The action takes place in a bedroom in the Lloyd-Ransomes' house, Villa Zephyre, on the Cote D'Azur.




'Evening with the Master becomes a lengthy affair.' 'Not long ago, I saw Noel Coward's Come Into the Garden Maud and Ways and Means presented as a double bill, and the length of the evening seemed just about right in relation to the dramatic weight of the plays. 'This week, SLTC has gone one better - or should I say one worse? - in adding a third componenet, and along-winded one at that, to the same duo. 'Coward x Three commences with Shadows of the Evening, and they are already lenghtening fast by the first interval. 'George Hilgay's wife and mistress, old antagonists, form an uneasy truce to see him through the last few months his doctor has given him to live. 'The piece is decently presented with becoming dignity in John Anderson's performance as the doomed George, and some bitchy exchanges between Su Hands as his wife and Karen McCloud as the woman who has supplanted her. 'But the dialogue is slow, ponderous and , by comparison with Coward's best, curiously stiff and formal. 'Come Into the Garden Maud finds its characters in the same Swiss hotel, with Stephen Fisher playing the same obsequious waiter, Felix. 'Pip Piacentino plays a rich American, mercilessly put down by his snobbish wife, played by Ruth Shettle with a due relish for her ghastliness. 'It is both amusing and satisfying to see her get her come-uppance, as he falls for and makes off with a Bohemian princess, Maud Caragnani, the more so as the lady, in the performance of Vanessa Venables, has such a delightfully sunny personality. 'Ways and Means concerns a hard-up gambling couple desperately grappling with their problems on the Cote d'Azur. 'Gill Higgins and Mike Mungarvan bicker in the true Coward mode, until deliverance arrives in the unlikely shape of a chauffeur-turned burglar, played by the ubiquitous Stephen Fisher. 'There are useful cameos by Leslie Lidyard as the manservant, and Lucy Walker as the owner of the house. 'All three plays are directed by W. Malcom Woodman, and the stylish settings are designed by Alan Buckman....

by Donald Madgwick Croydon Advertiser 11/08/1989


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