Two of Britain’s most respected actors are bringing a sparkling production of one of Noel Coward’s final pieces of work to life.
Simon Callow and Jane Asher star in A Song At Twilight from April 8 to 13, a bitter-sweet comedy exploring what happens when long-buried secrets are revealed and how missed opportunities can shape our lives.
Simon plays world-famous author Sir Hugo Latymer who is growing old, rude and haughty living out his final years in the private suite of a lakeside hotel.
His every need is attended to by his long-suffering wife and a handsome waiter but his life is set to take an unexpected turn with the arrival of an old flame, the actress Carlotta Gray.
Gray, who is played by Jane Asher, had a torrid two-year affair with him more than 40 years ago and he is worried about what she wants.
At first, he fears she is after money or revenge but it emerges Carlotta is writing her memoirs and wants something very different.
First staged in the West End in 1966, Coward made his stage farewell in the play playing the semi-autobiographical role of Sir Hugo.
Simon is no stranger to the stage in Norwich having performed his one-man show about Charles Dickens at the Playhouse as well as previously sharing the Theatre Royal stage with Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Ronald Pickup in Waiting For Godot in 2009.
His numerous film credits include Four Weddings and a Funeral, Shakespeare In Love which was filmed partly in Norfolk, and Amadeus, as well as TV roles in David Copperfield and Doctor Who.
Also an acclaimed director and writer, Simon has written many books including biographies of Oscar Wilde, Charles Laughton and Orson Welles.
Meanwhile Jane is one of the UK’s most accomplished actresses with recent screen appearances including Holby City, Stephen Poliakoff’s Dancing On The Edge, and the Old Guys.
She has worked in film and television since she was a child and boasts numerous credits including Alfie, Brideshead Revisited, Poirot, An American In Paris: the Musical in the West End, and numerous productions for the National Theatre, Royal Court, Broadway and London’s theatreland.
Simon said A Song At Twilight was part of Coward’s final farewell to writing. “It was very well received when it was first performed and he was taken very seriously for it as well as being greatly admired. I think he wanted to leave the world with a play which was extraordinary and skilfully crafted and full of grit, which it is.”
His co-star Jane said the play is getting some fantastic reactions. She said: “People come round to see you after the show and say it is so funny. Even those who say they would normally come to see a musical or a thriller say it is wonderful.
“I do love doing Noel Coward plays though. This isn’t your usual clipped witty repartee. There is a lot more to it than that and a lot of depth but, at the same time, there are some very lovely moments. I love doing it and after all, who doesn’t enjoy performing something that is well-written?”