Six phenomenally sophisticated Noël Coward comedies:
Fallen Angels: Julia and Fred and Willy and Jane are happily married and the best of friends, until a postcard arrives with news of the imminent arrival of a certain handsome Frenchman - gay, debonair, and utterly sophisticated. Performed by Annette Bening, et al.
Hay Fever: A country house weekend goes haywire when the guests and their hosts play a game of romantic musical chairs. Performed by Eric Stoltz, et al.
Private Lives: On the French Rivera, the lights of a yacht are reflected in the water and in the eyes of four hilariously mismatched lovers. Perhaps Coward’s greatest comedy, Private Lives shimmers with romance, desire and bittersweet truth. Performed by Rosalind Ayres, et al.
Design For Living: Three terminally stylish friends attempt to uncoil their twisted love triangle in this sexy and scandalous gem. Written in 1932, the play was deemed extremely daring. Performed by Michelle Arthur, et al.
Present Laughter: Stage star Garry Essendine struggles to plan his trip to Africa while his flat is invaded by a love struck ingénue, an adulterous producer, a married seductress, Garry’s estranged wife Liz and an aspiring playwright who is quite, quite mad. Performed by: Ian Oglivy, Yeardley Smith, et al.
Blithe Spirit: A convivial evening party among friends is transformed when a séance conjures the ghost of Elvira, the host’s first wife, who delights in wreaking havoc among the living. Performed by: Rosalind Ayres, Ian Ogilvy, et al.
Exclusive bonus material: Two rarely-performed shorts by Noël Coward, Design for Rehearsing and Age Cannot Wither, as well as conversations on Coward with Barry Day (Noel Coward Foundation) and John Lahr (The New Yorker).
What members say
Bravo Mr. Coward
If you could sum up The Noël Coward Collection (Dramatized) in three words, what would they be?
This is 1930
What about the narrators’s performance did you like?
Expert radio play performance, Stunning cast
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No each story was a pearl in the necklace
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Two great plays and a bunch that aren't bad
Overall this was a wonderfully performed set of Noel Coward plays. I have listened to a number of plays on Audible and LA Theater Works knows how to produce plays for audio. This set of plays has a couple of great plays, several pleasant plays, and a couple of short plays that are witty, but not very interesting. My favorites of this set of plays were Design For Living and Blithe Spirit, both are first rate plays and excellent performances. These recordings really gave me the feeling of experiencing a live performance.
Fallen Angels is not a very deep play, but was wonderfully acted and quite funny. Hay Fever was even lighter, and my least favorite of the full plays in this set, nevertheless it was still well produced and worth the listen.
The plot of Private Lives is rather thin but the characters and dialog are both well written and well acted. Present Laughter is funny and has a bit of depth that makes it interesting.
There were two short plays Design for Rehearsing which is likely enjoyable if you have actually performed as an actor in Design for Living and Age Cannot Wither which has some wit but otherwise seems to be a one trick pony.
Although I could take or leave a bunch of these plays, the two great plays and a few others very good plays along with the uniformly good production values made this recording well worth the listen.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
I wish there were indexes for such a compendium... Too hard to navigate the plays blind!
6 of 7 people found this review helpful