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“Throughout the play I felt echoes of Chekov’s tragic families, where the disfunction usually leads to unhappiness… I also saw in this the roots of Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf: a family who plays emotional games with each other, invites guests into the games – in Hay Fever the guest recognize the pattern and slip out leaving the players still trapped in their game.”
“It strikes me as I review my notes that by presenting Hay Fever along with Crazy for You and Man of La Mancha, the Stratford Festival declared an unintentional theme in their season – a love for, and the transformative power of theatre…. No wonder why, despite it falling short of some expectations, I found myself booking tickets to see Hay Fever again.
“Ms. Peacock commands the stage. Her Judith is both hilarious and ridiculous and she is so much fun to watch…a delightful comedy from start to finish. It emphasizes the absurd, but not to the point where audiences cannot relate.”
“Peacock, technically expert, covers all Judith’s self-indulgent bases without quite taking possession of them — or, perhaps, letting them possess her; her natural quality is earthy rather than flighty…Gareth Potter is splendid as the young boxer who finds himself going separate rounds with each of the ladies of the house”
“Coward isn’t engaged in social satire, because satire requires an affirmative set of values against which a society may be judged. Hay Fever has no such values – it’s blissfully relativistic. Instead of values, it has manners. But nobody agrees what those manners ought to be – and it is here where the play approaches the Seinfeldian.“
“Dale does wonders with her meaty role, cast in a part that does not simply require glamour and a lot of posturing. No longer the play’s naïve flirty ingénue, she sinks her teeth into the character, shooting out witticisms and wise cracks at a rapid-fire place.”
“Coward is funniest—and truest—when he is played straight. Gareth Potter as the horny boxer Sandy, Sanjay Talwar as the Jon Lovitz-inspired diplomat Richard and Cynthia Dale as the socialite Myra have evanescent moments of tepid levity, but collectively it’s not enough to lift the production beyond mediocrity.”
“There’s a hollowness to this Hay Fever…I’m divided, however, as to whether this is a fault of Palmer’s production, or if Palmer’s production is simply showing us the hollowness of Coward’s world and, more frighteningly, our own.”
“It’s too bad but the laughter is spread a bit thin here. That’s not to say there are no laughs. There are. And some of them are hardy. Many of those laughs come from Peacock as the eternally dramatic actress for whom the rest of the family must “play up.”
” Gareth Potter totally convincing as the dense but horny jock, Ijeoma Emesowum sweetly vapid as the over-her-head flappe…not a bad night in the theatre, but it’s not a terribly good one, either. And if you’re looking for the villain, it’s not the butler. The director did it.”