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Felecity Kendal: Bath is my second home – I always love it

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 15, 2014

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Felicity Kendal, who will be 68 in September, has been coming to Bath for years, she knows the city well, and she is a straight-talker. So when she talks you know it is not just the usual celebrity-spun praise we get when famous people visit our city.

On stage since she was a child, she is so long in the business you get the feeling she does not need to impress anyone.

She will be in Bath to star in a new production of Noel Coward's much-loved comedy Hay Fever, which opens at the Theatre Royal on August 20 as part of the 2014 summer season.

"Bath is my second home," says Felicity. "I always love it when the producer says we are coming to Bath, it is my favourite place to work outside London."

She will be playing Judith Bliss, a retired but eminently vain actress, alongside Simon Shepherd as her equally vain writer husband David.

It is standard Noel Coward, set in a country house with a wonderful 1920s setting, and it tells the story of the eccentric and multi-dysfunctional Bliss family.

Unconventional, risque, and often downright rude, they are everything a respectable English family should not be.

Hilarity ensues when each member of the family, including the couple's two Bohemian grown-up children, Sorel and Simon, invite one guest each to their country retreat.

"It is all about timing with comedy, and the pace in Noel Coward's plays is frenetic," said Felicity. "I am a complete perfectionist and I just have to get it right."

Why does she love the Theatre Royal so much?

"Every actor loves the Theatre Royal," she beams. "It is the most wonderful theatre to work in. It is so intimate, you can really sense the audience.

"The acoustics are fantastic, the space on the stage is just perfect, and it all just works like a dream."

Bath audiences are very discerning, according to Felicity who famously starred as Barbara in the TV hit comedy The Good Life in 1975.

"Audiences in Bath are very discerning, they are used to seeing good theatre, they know what it is all about, and you have to make sure you get it right," she said.

She knows the theatre well, having starred in many productions over the years including Relatively Speaking and Chin-Chin last year, Mrs Warren's Profession in 2009, The Vortex in 2008, Amy's View in 2006 and Fallen Angels in 2000.

She does not get much free time when she is here, as she rehearses during the day and works at night, but she manages to squeeze in a city walk.

"I just love walking around Bath, I know the city well and the best way to see it is on foot.

"Generally I do not like being away from home, I have been doing it for so long, but when I am in Bath I can pop home on Sundays and I never feel very far away."

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