Noël Coward (Sir Noel Peirce Coward 1899-1973) was a renowned and multi-talented British playwright, composer, performer, producer and theatre personality especially celebrated for his caustic wit.
His plays were hugely popular in South Africa as elsewhere, notably Blithe Spirit, which had numerous productions over the years, also in Afrikaans as Die Vryerige Spook (“The Amorous Ghost”). He visited South Africa in 1944 at the behest of “Ouma” Smuts, the wife of the Prime Minister J.C. Smuts, as part of her war effort charities. Performed on a few occasions, and attended a production of Blithe Spirit by the Gwen ffrangçon-Davies / Marda Vanne Company in that year. His Red Peppers was the curtain-raiser at the Reps performance of Androcles and the Lion at the Alexander Theatre in 1969. His Present Laughter, directed by Charles Hickman, was the final production for the Reps at the Alexander, in 1969. It starred Margaret Inglis, Bernard Brown, Jenny Gratus and Gordon Mulholland. Toerien-Rubin Company staged his Fallen Angels at the Alexander Theatre circa 1970. Pieter Toerien presented a compilation of his material Cowardy Custard starring Moira Lister, David Kernan and Graham Armitage and directed by Freddie Carpenter at the Civic Theatre in 1973. John Hussey directed his Hay Fever with Shelagh Holliday and Hussey himself, for PACT in 1974. Professor Rosalie van der Gucht directed his Blithe Spirit for PACT in 1977. PACT staged a revival of his Present Laughter, directed by John Hussey and starring Hussey, Shelagh Holliday and Erica Rogers in 1979. Pieter Toerien presented his Oh Coward, directed by Freddie Carpenter with [[Richard Loring
A broadcast of his one-act play Still Life (1936) - apparently called Brief Encounter after the 1945 film based on the play - was broadcast by the SABC in Castle Playhouse on 27 April 1966, starring Marlene Dietrich as "Laura".
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