After a 50-year career as a writer, playwright, actor, singer and composer, Noël Coward had learned all there was to know about the worlds of drama and the theatre. Every gag, tale and trick; he'd seen it all before. This is why Star Quality, a behind-the-scenes perspective on West End theatre and his last completed work, is so important and still so well loved.
Published in 1967, Coward's final play is set behind the curtain of a London theatre putting on a brand new production. The players are a collection of ruthless, gung-ho, self-serving yet fragile stereotypes which, one suspects, the playwright could easily have put two or three real names to from his own experiences.
In the eye of this melodramatic storm of egos, war cries and treachery is an innocent young playwright seeing his work in the hands and mouths of the backstage tribes.
Bringing real Star Quality to the tour is Amanda Donohoe, who plays the theatrical grand dame Lorraine Barrie whose fierce battle for control with the director runs from first rehearsal to opening night.
Donohoe, a veteran of stage and screen, first found fame for her Golden Globe-winning turn in US series 'LA Law'. A great any roles followed, including her eye-catching, largely clothes-free turn in eighties movie hit 'Castaway' (with Oliver Reed) and, more recently, as a bit of a minx in Emmerdale (apparently). Donohoe's recent stage credits include Mrs Robinson in the continuing revival of The Graduate.
Noël Coward's parting shot and knowing wink to the world of theatre is on tour now and continues with dates into 2012. The national tour continues tonight in Edinburgh, before moving onto, among others, Guildford, Cardiff, Richmond-upon-Thames and Bromley.
We have tickets available now for a selection of dates, priced from around £25 to £35 depending on venue.