Noel Coward’s Designed For Living play at Old Mill Theatre

A scene from Noel Coward's Designed For Living.
A scene from Noel Coward's Designed For Living.

GUILDFORD resident Nyree Hughes is getting ready to take audiences on a wickedly witty journey from Paris to London and New York in a Noel Coward romantic comedy that was initially banned in the UK.

Directed by Barry Park at the Old Mill Theatre, Design For Living is a provocative play that portrays three amoral, glib and stylish characters and their hopelessly inescapable, if also unconventional, emotional entanglement.

From 1930s bohemian Paris to the dizzying heights of Manhattan society, a tempestuous love triangle unravels between vivacious interior designer Gilda (played by Hughes), playwright Leo and artist Otto – three people unashamedly and passionately in love with each other.

“Gilda is like a lost little girl in an adult world because she has an internal struggle of wanting to be normal by society’s standards yet prefers the life of the Bohemian gypsy,” Hughes said.

“An unconventional kind of love bestows itself upon her and it acts like an undertow, trying to pull her under when she’s just trying to keep her feet firmly planted.

“If Gilda had a personal motto, it would be ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’.

“Remembering the lines is the main task because it’s a monstrous amount of script.

“Showing Gilda’s highs and lows and then pulling her right back to really highlight those moments will be a challenge.

“It can be risky to perform such extremes in mood because you need to be careful not to push it over the edge into pantomime.”

Hughes performed in Albany for 10 years before moving to Perth to study musical theatre at the WA Academy of Performing Arts. She has since performed in a variety of productions with Garrick, Limelight, Stirling and Marloo theatres.

She has received various performance and costume design nominations and awards from each theatre, as well as the annual Finley Awards.

Design For Living appealed because it’s set in Paris, London and New York in the 1930s – what’s not to love?” Hughes said.

Design For Living plays at 8pm April 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, May 3, 4, 5 and 6 with 2pm matinees April 23 and 30. Tickets are $25, $20 concession. Book at or call 9367 8719.

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