Patricia Hodge in the wonderful production of Relative Values at the Harold Pinter theatre. Not for nothing was Coward called "The Master" - it's a wonderfully crafted work which is also a satire on both the absurdities of the class system and the absurdities of utopian egalitarianism.
Patricia was absolutely superb, with impeccable charm, timing and diction. The great Coward plays have characters whose feelings are conflicted on many levels and the many layers of "I know I shouldn't be feeling X, but I bloody well am" were beautifully done. Caroline Quentin was also outstanding as Moxie, revelling in her transition from Maid to Companion. It was fascinating that it was Rory Bremner's stage début. He's a remarkably talented and intelligent performer though one could see the transition from performer to actor almost before ones eyes. He said afterwards that this was the first night that it didn't feel like acting. And Leigh Zimmerman was terrific as Miranda Frayle the Hollywood Star (who also happens to be Moxie's younger reprobate sister).
We'd only met Patricia once before but since she's such a friend of both Janie and Miranda we went backstage and she was as delightful as we'd remembered. There was a bit of a delay since Princess Alexandra was in the audience (sitting a couple of rows in front of us) and she went to greet the cast on the stage. This meant that we had time to meet Patricia's step-daughter and Gloria Hunniford who were also coming backstage, and also to chat briefly to the Princess on her way out at the very cramped Stage Door. Patricia was charm itself and we were soon sipping champagne. I was able to teaze her that she has now played Miranda's almost mother-in-law as well as Miranda's mother, and indeed she did once accidentally change her line "I am Peter's mother" to "I am Miranda's mother." and then had the wit to ad lib along the lines of "Well, almost, when they are married, since I am of course Peter's mother". We met and congratulated Caroline Q, Rory B and Leigh Z who all seem to be very natural and just a great company together.
A wonderful evening, catch the play if you can!