My blog has quite a lot of posts about Samuel West (Julius Caesar, On Chesil Beach and Darkest Hour) and Charles Edwards (My Fair Lady Australian tour and Henry IX).

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Samuel West - Radio - The Better Half

[updated 2 June]

The Better Half will be shown Monday 25 May at 11.30am on Radio 4. The program page from the BBC website is here.


Radio Times (via the British Comedy Guide)
This one-act play by Noel Coward was thought to be lost, but was rediscovered in a collection of plays in the British library in 2007. It's by no means a masterpiece and some of the issues it covers are horribly outdated - a wife-beater shows he still loves his spouse, for he would not hit her if he did not care - but it does make up for this with deliciously wicked one-liners from Alice, the bored wife who wants to escape her loveless marriage. Federay Holmes obviously enjoyed playing Alice, while Samuel West and Lisa Dillon make the perfect worthy-but-dull husband and girlfriend.

The Stage
Noel Coward’s 1922 play was considered too racy for public consumption at the time, and was only rediscovered by researches in the British Library in 2007. Samuel West is David, in an unhappy marriage to Alice (Federay Holmes), who tries to persuade him to have an affair with her best friend Marion (Lisa Dillon). A curio rather than a masterpiece, it nevertheless contains some typical Coward dialogue.

[another review] "...A recently discovered Noel Coward play, The Better Half, written when he was only 22, was an astonishingly mature account of the way a couple connived to kill their marriage. Working from Coward’s unpublished manuscript, Martin Jarvis drew crisp performances from Federay Holmes, Lisa Dillon and Samuel West..."

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