50th Anniversary of Noel Coward’s Waiting in the Wings at the Pentameter Theatre

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Pentameter Theatre is an adorable little venue tucked away in picturesque Hampstead, North London. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I wandered up the dingy little staircase but was pleasantly surprised to find a large room at the top with about 30 seats and a wonderfully decorated stage.

I was there to see Waiting in the Wings, Noel Coward’s rarely performed 50th play. Set in a retirement home for actresses, the drama focuses on the feud between residents Lotta Bainbridge and May Davenport. Waiting in the Wings unusually has nine characters of pensionable age, providing parts for actresses whose talent is often wasted because of their years.

All the actresses are lovely to watch, and are noticeably having a great time on stage — they giggle and bicker with gusto and charm. Maggie McCourt is hilarious and quite brilliant as the mad Sarita Mytle, who is still convinced she is a leading actress. Frances Cuka, who’s had a remarkable acting career on stage and screen, graces the stage as May Davenport. She is natural and yet plays up to Coward’s witty script. The only slight disappointment is Rick Alancroft as Alan, whose changing accent made him rather unconvincing.

The place, the theatre and the play are all lovely. Catch this unique play before the run ends in two weeks, I guarantee you’ll leave feeling positive about getting older!

Waiting in the Wings is on until 18 September 2010.