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Noel Coward's This Was A Man - Finborough Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THIS Was A Man, by Noel Coward, receives its UK premiere at the Finborough Theatre, where it runs from Tuesday, July 15 to Saturday, August 2, 2014.

Banned by the Lord Chamberlain for its facetious and irreverent treatment of adultery, Noël Coward’s previously unseen play is directed by actress Belinda Lang.

I loathe this age and everything to do with it. Men of my sort are the products of over-civilisation. All the red- blooded honest-to-God emotions have been squeezed out of us.

Edward Churt is a successful painter. His wife Carol has a “vivid personality composed of a minimum of intellect and a maximum of sex”. Increasingly aware of her infidelity, Edward defends himself with a veneer of sophisticated insouciance. But his best friend and army comrade is determined to avenge him…

This Was A Man explores some of Coward’s lifelong and enduring themes of social mores, jealousy and the futility of a life with no moral compass. Can good manners emasculate us? What happens when we repress our inner caveman? Is it more courageous to look away or to face our demons and fight? What, indeed, does it mean to be a “man”?

Written in 1925 and immediately banned by the censor, This Was A Man opened on Broadway in 1926, and was subsequently produced across Europe, but has never been seen professionally in the UK until now.

Director Belinda Lang has appeared in numerous plays by Noël Coward, including Hands Across The Sea, Private Lives (Theatre Royal Bath and National Tour), Blithe Spirit (Chichester Festival Theatre), Hay Fever (Theatre Royal Haymarket and Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), A Song At Twilight (National Tour) and Present Laughter (Vaudeville Theatre), which she has also appeared in and directed on a National Tour.

Lang’s most recent production as a director was the National Tour of The Reluctant Debutante by William Douglas Home.

The cast of This Was A Man includes Nicholas Audsley, Alex Corbet Burcher, Jamie De Courcey, Dorothea Myer-Bennett, Robert Portal, Georgina Rylance and Grace Thurgood.

Presented by Julyan Creative Productions in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre, This Was A Man is designed by Simon Kenny, with costumes by Simon Kenny and Jessica Knight, lighting by Matt Eagland and sound by Max Pappenheim.

To celebrate the run, the Finborough Arms pub will be serving Noel Coward’s favourite cocktail during the run!

NB: Many performances are already sold out, therefore advance booking is essential – on 0844 847 1652 or online at

Also at the Finborough Theatre: Rachel, the first play by an African American woman (Angelina Weld Grimké) ever produced professionally (September 30 to October 25, 2014).