“The Vortex” starring Jane Seymour, OBE at Raffles Hotel, Jubilee Hall Theatre, Singapore. Produced by the British Theatre Playhouse. Directed by Bob Tomson. Designer Michael Holt. 

About "The Vortex" by Noel Coward

On the 25th of November 1924 an audience at the Everyman Theatre Hampstead, London, witnessed the first performance of a play that was to shock and scandalise London society. It was also to revolutionise the theatre of the time and become a Classic of British Drama.

The play was “The Vortex” and the playwright was Noel Coward, astonishingly just twenty four years old at the time. The play was a phenomenal success and launched Coward’s career as the most successful British playwright of the next four decades.

No one had dared to show London high-society of the time in its true light before; spoilt, frivolous but, above all, rotten and decadent. Coward’s play held-up the ‘mirror’ to London society and society didn’t like what it saw, while the rest of the world looked on in shock!

The play, written and set in 1920s London, revolves around the word of socialite Florence Lancaster and her circle of friends and family. A great beauty who has led a life of considerable promiscuity with much younger admirers, Florence now refuses to accept the reality of age and is pursuing her latest conquest Tom, a handsome but dull, young Guards officer.

It is when Florence’s son, Nicky, returns home from life in Paris to introduce his fiancee, Bunty, to his mother, that the play turns from an amusing drawing-room comedy into something far more serious.

Nicky is horrified to find that, not only is his mother notorious in London society for her promiscuity but that her latest lover, Tom, is of his own age. Worse still, he learns that Tom was previously engaged to Bunty.

Nicky, an aspiring pianist – and a role Coward created for himself – has his own demons though and, in a series of brilliantly written scenes, is forced to admit weaknesses in his own lifestyle.

The climax of the play is the famous, final scene set in Florence’s bedroom and one that owes a debt to Hamlet’s anguished “closet scene” with Gertrude.

Son confronts mother over her appalling lifestyle but mother retaliates against son over his own. They fight, they scream, they cry, they abuse each other until, with both exhausted, the play reaches its climax; It is one of the great scenes in British drama.

In fact the whole play unravels a network of hidden, past and forbidden relationships that the paying public of the time would have found shocking to watch.

“The Vortex” is above all else, though, a play about sexual vanity and emotional dependency. As such, its theme is as relevant to life today as it was in the 1920s.

At times full of witty, satirical, cutting humour and at others a cruel expose of a corrupt high society, “The Vortex” has long been acclaimed as one of Coward’s best plays and certainly one of his most perceptive.

The play and its central character of Florence, has also attracted some of the world’s great actresses.

Coward himself wrote, directed and starred in the play that would run for a year in London and would ensure he would never be poor again.

It signalled the start of a prolific writing career in which he produced over 40 plays and musicals, around 10 films and TV scripts, 15 musical revues and cabarets, not to mention his books of short stories and memoirs. All this is staggering considering Noel also directed, acted and sang in the majority of the work he produced.

Production Photos

“The Vortex” starring Jane Seymour, OBE at Raffles Hotel, Jubilee Hall Theatre, Singapore. Produced by the British Theatre Playhouse. Directed by Bob Tomson. Designer Michael Holt.

Flying the flag

If you put on a world-class play in Singapore, you’ve got to have those lovely eye-catching banners lining the roads of Singapore, including Orchard Road! We want the cast to feel invited, and visitors to Singapore included too.

27 April 2016

Opening Night


It is apparent that all who came were excited to be amongst the first to see Jane Seymour perform live on stage and for the first time in Singapore! Even Tom Meyer, Managing Director, Fairmont Singapore Swissotel The Stamford cut short his trip to be there to host his VIP guests. It was a great first night!
27 Apr 2016

After-Show Party at Antidote at Fairmont Hotel


There is only one way to celebrate The Vortex opening night is to throw a party at the stylish Antidote cocktail bar at Fairmont Hotel situated just across the Raffles Hotel.

The party sponsored and hosted by Fairmont Hotel enabled VIP guests to meet Jane and “The Vortex” cast including Bob Tomson who directed the play. All had great fun!
29 April 2016

"Leaders in Business" Lunch by the British Chamber of Commerce


Organised by the British Chamber of Commerce, the theme was “Men Making Equality Real” – Jane Seymour was the Guest of Honour and Speaker and Bob Tomson moderated the Q & A session.

It’s nice to see a good turn-out of male and female members joined by the Chamber’s new President, Mr Bicky Bhangu.

Jane Seymour addressed students of Stamford American School and answered many questions such as “What was it that enabled Jane to reach where she is?”; What’s her advice for anyone who has the aspiration to dream and achieve their goals?”.

Singapore’s Gardens By The Bays hosted a lovely lunch for “The Vortex” cast and company members and surprised Jane Seymour by honouring her with an orchid named after her. She will be the first international celebrity to be given the honour. Congrats Jane!

Jane Seymour OBE visited the Tanglin Trust School in Singapore and met with IB Film Studies students.


The British High Commissioner, H.E. Scott Wightman who is also the Patron of the British Theatre Playhouse hosted lunch for “The Vortex” cast at his residence, Eden Hall. It’s always our tradition to take a nice photo next to “The Queen” after our lunch and this time is no difference.


The General Manager of the British Club, Mr Sean Boyle hosted an enjoyable lunch for “The Vortex” cast. It also made it possible for the club’s members to meet their beloved Hollywood British actress, Jane Seymour in the flesh and take photos with her.


Through The Vortex “Art for Charity” Gala, we are proud to have raised a total of $52,000 for Singapore Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross to help those in needs and save lives.

29 April 2016

Charity Gala Performance and Dinner


There was plenty of canapes and drinks for everyone at the cocktail reception at “The Vortex” charity gala event, sponsored by World of Diamonds. And of course, the cherry on the icing was the presence of The President of the Republic of Singapore, H.E. Dr Tony Tan and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan who also came to support the Red Cross Singapore and International Committee of the Red Cross. And obviously, you would expect many prominent and high-profile guests there including the British High Commissioner, H.E. Scott Wightman and his wife, Anne Wightman and the EU Ambassador, H.E. Dr Michael Pulch and his wife, Gabriele Pulch.

You know how it is. You see Jane Seymour walked in – you want to grab a picture with her, and the handsome British cast. And obviously, our guests did exactly that and went home with memorable moments and pictures to boast. Unforgettable evening!

Leave a comment

© 2002-2019 British Theatre Playhouse.