Sydney Theatre Company presents Hay Fever

A comedy of manners in which the whole family cops a roasting.

By Benjamen Judd

Noël Coward’s brilliant family farce Hay Fever is now showing at the Sydney Opera House until May 21. 

Hay Fever takes place at a family dinner, hosted by the boisterous, contentious, dysfunctional and opinionated Bliss clan. 

The twist – each of the Blisses have brought with them a guest who, along with the audience, become the unwitting witnesses to a family so at odds with each other and yet utterly absorbed by their own drama that they fail to realise their beleaguered partners gradually disappear, one by one. 

Coward wrote Hay Fever in 1924, observing the slow erosion of Victorian manners in favour of a new era of decadence and expression.

A cross between high farce and comedy of manners, Jason Blake of the Sydney Morning Herald has compared the absurdity of the play’s appeal to car crash reality television Geordie Shore. 

Directed by Imara Savage (who reunites with designer Alicia Clements, whom she had previously worked with on After Dinner), Hay Fever is comes with a stellar cast of Australian actors led by Heather Mitchell as Judith Bliss, the prima donna to end all prima donnas. Joining her are Harriet Dyer (Travelling North), Tony Llewellyn-Jones (Amigos), Josh McConville (After Dinner) and Helen Thomson (King Lear). 

Hay Fever is currently showing at the Drama Theatre in the Sydney Opera House until May 21.

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