Volcano is an intriguing long-lost play by Noel Coward, which he wrote in 1956 and then suppressed because he thought it would alienate the friends it was based upon. There are love triangles galore and a barrage of witty one-liners.
Jenny Seagrove is the estate owner Adela, who is in love with the charming Guy (played with raffish cool by Jason Durr). It’s no wonder that Coward thought twice about this portrait of Fleming.
Guy, a cross between 007 and Don Juan, lives to seduce any woman he meets. He is usually urbane but “as subtle as a fire engine” when it comes to sex.
Adela’s younger friend Ellen arrives. Guy is soon chatting her up. Then his steely wife Melissa (Dawn Steele) flies in from London: she is well accustomed to his serial romances, (“I know I behave badly,” he admits as they briefly embrace).
So far, so very genteel. The raging passions are hidden by English stiff-upper-lip reserve.
Set designer Simon Scullion does an impressive job with the crashing beams and flickering lights of the rumbling . The terrified house guests face tough choices: Run? Stay? And with whom?
Volcano runs until 29th September at the Vaudeville Theatre.