Article written by Anna Olkinuora
After visiting the rehearsals of Hay Fever just a couple of days before their premiere, I had high hopes for the performance. I have to say I definitely wasn’t disappointed.
The whole cast was en pointe in the Thursday performance -and I am pretty sure this applied to all of the shows too. As mentioned in my previous ‘making of’ article, in rehearsals it was visible that the director, Adrian Goldman, had put in extra effort to help the cast build their characters into three-dimensional beings. This shone through the performance.
The highlight of the evening for me was the mother-and-her-two-children-trio. Mikael Kivimäki and Hosanna Megumi as Simon and Sorel Bliss work brilliantly together, and the way they bicker at each other is a delight to watch. (And, just as a side note, this is definitely not my bias talking, even though I know them both.) Stephanie Carlson as Judith Bliss brings a deliciously overdramatic mother of the family alive, and the way she and the children interact throughout the play made me want to be part of the crazy bohemian family.
I have to admit, I found the text a little too long with a bit of a lull in the middle. Two intervals were a bit too much for me. But this is not really something the production team can change if they want to be absolutely true to the text and not edit it.
My companion and I for the evening both agreed that the text itself is not something that either of us found easy to relate to or find much in it that resonates in our lives. But the cast was so great in their character work, delivery and rhythm that we found ourselves laughing through the play instead of checking the time. Adrian Goldman did a fantastic job taking a play that is set in the upper-class England of the 20’s and making it work for an audience in modern-day Finland.
If I have to look for faults in the production, then I have to say that the song and dance at the beginning of the play felt a little awkward and unnecessary. But nevertheless, Hay Fever is the best Finn-Brit Players production I have seen! More of this, please!
Hay Fever by Noël Coward
Directed by Adrian Goldman
Produced by The Finn-Brit Players and Passport Theatre
Stephanie Carlson (Judith Bliss), Demian Stimson (David Bliss), Hosanna Megumi (Sorel Bliss), Mikael Kivimäki (Simon Bliss), Jess Hollmeier (Myra Arundel), Alistair Logan (Richard Greatham), Elina Jackson (Jackie Coryton), Todd Elliott (Sandy Tyrell), and Sophie Michaud (Clara).
Photo: Anni Taponen