THERE can hardly be a time when one of Noel Coward’s plays is not being staged somewhere in theatres around the world.
Earlier this year, Coward’s mastery of words was back in the national spotlight thanks to a restaging of one his best known plays, Blithe Spirit in London’s West End.
Honley Players pay their tribute to Coward’s skill with the society’s production of another renowned Coward play, This Happy Breed.
The production, directed by Dennis Thewlis, opens at the society’s Southgate Theatre in Honley on Wednesday where it runs for four nights at 7.30pm.
The title of the play is taken from Shakespeare’s famous speech in Richard II, which describes Great Britain as ‘this sceptred isle’.
It isn’t difficult to see why for as Coward wrote This Happy Breed in 1939, the country was on the brink of war.
The play looks at the lives of a suburban family over two decades from 1919 .
The family’s trials and tribulations are mirrored against those of a country faced by a general strike, the death of the king, an Abdication, the Munich Agreement, to the eve of a second conflict with Germany.
Director Dennis Thewlis said: “It is never an easy task presenting a period play, what with costume and props and so on.
“But you can also add in the 20 year time laps, London accents, nine scene changes and a cast of 11, although I have cut one small part as trying to cast 10 was difficult enough.
“i have a great cast who have worked hard and are very dedicated, although the younger members of cast find it hard to realise how upsetting and unsettling things like the King’s death and the abdication were, for a nation still badly scarred from a terrible war.”
The show is a big ask too in casting terms.
Honley fields a team which includes a number of experienced actors and encouragingly, at least four new faces.
So take a bow Steve Ward, Edward Taylor, Jenny Taylor and Matthew Walshaw who will all be making their Honley Players’ debuts next week.