The Information on Noel Coward's `Easy Virtue'

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The Independent Culture
What Is It?

Maria Aitken's confident and entertaining revival of Noel Coward's early comedy - first produced on Broadway in 1925 - which charts the repercussions of a glamorous divorcee marrying into a stuffy county family.

Who's In It?

Greta Scacchi (near right) is wholly convincing as Larita, departing from convention by playing her as a colourful American. Jenny Quayle and Elisabeth Dermot Walsh are a tad too smug as the sisters-in-law, but there excellent performances from Wendy Craig as Mrs Whittaker, Michael Jayston as Colonel Whittaker, and Lou Gish as Sarah.

What They Say About It

"Scacchi lets you see both Larita's wittily amused awareness of her head- turning effect and - to just the right, understated degree - her growing distressed recognition that her marriage to empty, attractive John is a bad mistake," Paul Taylor, The Independent.

"Greta Scacchi admirably conveys Larita's transition from bright-eyed bride to bored domestic prisoner and gives her final glorious swansong the right touch of Gloria Swanson," Michael Billington, The Guardian.

"Miss Aitken's production, particularly in a gross party scene, brimming with hypocrisy and social unease, unerringly catches the period tone... Easy Virtue reveals Coward in a fascinating satirical mode he rarely adopted again," Nicholas de Jongh, Evening Standard.

Where You Can See It

Easy Virtue is at the Chichester Festival Theatre (01243 781312) until 2 Oct.