Year: 1991
Title of the play: Point Valaine
Author: Noël Coward
Director: Tim Luscombe
Others in the Cast: Tracey Mitchell, Elizabeth Stewart, Alan Bennion, Miranda Kingsley, Andree Evans, Jack Klaff, Patrick Pearson, Alexis Denisof, Sara Kestelman, Patricia Heneghan, Mary Pegler, Victoria Hasted, Jane Montgomery, Peter Wingfield.
Theatre and location: Minerva Theatre, Chichester
Other productions of the same play
Plot summary: Summary from a review of the play: Set in a hotel on a small Caribbean island, it begins with musical-comedy-style sketches of the guests - a babble of gay young men (yes, honestly) and twittering girls - all laconically observed by a cynical novelist (Edward Petherbridge). But a steamy infernal triangle intrudes. The hotel proprietess's cosily carnal affair with her headwaiter fails to cope with the advent of a priggish but handsome aviator. Mail on Sunday, June 9, 1991, by Kenneth Hurren
Peth’s role: Mortimer Quinn
And the first act, since it concentrates upon the holiday spirits of braying English ladies, two gay young men and an acidulous Maugham-like author, smoothly played by Edward
Petherbridge, leads you to imagine that Point Valaine is old familiar Coward. - The Guardian, June 7, 1991, by Nicholas de Jongh.

Sara Kestelman goes through the emotional mangle with such conviction as Linda Valaine that you are sometimes in danger of forgetting just how rubbishy her lines are. And though Jack Klaff looks thoroughly uncomfortable as the mad Russian (and who could blame him?) there are some stylish supporting performances, most notably from Edward Petherbridge who brings his familiar wry melancholy to the role of Mortimer Quinn, a Coward-like writer watching the melodramatic maelstrom from the sidelines. I can't imagine what persuaded Chichester to revive this long-forgotten tosh, but for all the wrong reasons, I'm delighted they did. Daily Telegraph, June 7, 1991, by Charles Spencer.

Nonetheless, the actors cope well. Edward Petherbridge as the writer Quinn moves from wooden to polished; Sara Kestelman (Valaine) is sexy and stern; everything that Peter Wingfield's fine young airman might conceivably fall for, and all that her lover Stefan, powerfully played by Jack Klaff, might turn against. Other highlights include Jane Montgomery as a journalist trying to tackle the recalcitrant Quinn, and Miranda Kingsley's put-upon spinster desperately seeking iron jelloids.
Financial Times, June 7, 1991, by Andrew St. George

There is also a fine performance from Edward Petherbridge as a benign voyeur who says wise things in an annoyingly disdainful way. But he has no obvious function in the plot; and awaits fuller treatment by Somerset Maugham, the writer to whom the play (along with the rain ominously pounding the hotel roof) is dedicated. The Times, June 7, 1991, by Benedict Nightingale

Edward Petherbridge plays a novelist on holiday: cautious, immaculate, witty, cynical, remote, a man who is all protective shell. Sara Kestelman owns the hotel: a widow, brisk, efficient, apparently self-contained, but with a shell that is all too easily broken through. These are two flawless performances: feeling and irony, cool style and a piercing immediacy are kept in tense balance. Sunday Times, June 9, 1991, by John Peter.

A savage native dance: then the sound of plodding footsteps as the English holidaymakers assemble for breakfast in a Caribbean island hotel. The contrast is further intensified by the secretive figures of the hotel owner and her Russian head-waiter - both transmitting a high-voltage charge through the icy formality of Sara Kestelman and Jack Klaff. Their secret is probed by Edward Petherbridge, sweetly aloof in the role of a Somerset Maugham-like observer.

In Tim Luscombe's Chichester production the whole affair gets much better acting than it deserves, especially from Sara Kestelman as Linda and Edward Petherbridge as Quinn. But it still has not got more than curiousity value to recommend it.
Sunday Telegraph, June 9, 1991, by John Gross

Ultimately, the evening belongs to Edward Petherbridge. His poignant portrayal of a wise but emotionally bankrupt writer encapsulates the subtle sadness that underscores this play. When love bridges gaps in generations and cultures, its electric consequences can end in catastrophe.
Independent, June 12, 1991, by William Cook.

The first act is a direct forerunner of Rattigan's "Separate Tables," complete with domineering dowager mother and repressed spinster daughter, and it is hard to believe that Sir Terence was unaware of his sources. But as we lurch into Maugham country, the play takes on its own head-and-dust passions, as Coward explores his fascination with the sensibilities and stupidities of expatriate life. Edward Petherbridge, Jack Klaff and Sara Kestelman lead a strong cast.
Herald Tribune, June 12, 1991, by Sheridan Morley

Production details: Decor, Paul Farnsworth; Lighting, Bill Bray; Sound, Tom Lishman; Assistant Director, Astrid Hilne.
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