Noel Coward’s first commercially successful hit, The Vortex premiered in 1924 in London, and its scandalous subject matter of drug abuse, repressed homosexuality, nymphomania and Oedipal jealousy made Coward an overnight sensation.

Updated to Mod London of 1965, Nicky Lancaster brings his elegant fiancée, Bunty, home to introduce her to his famous mother, stage actress Florence Lancaster. Nicky is shocked to discover that Florence has taken a much-younger lover, and when Bunty ditches Nicky to run off with Florence’s boy-toy, both are forced to confront the truth about themselves.

Directed by Gene Franklin Smith

"Malibu Playhouse's reimagined production of The Vortex is a smashing success, brilliantly conceived, acted, staged and directed. It is a passionate adaptation of the 1924 scandalous play with the bon mots flying as fast as the facades of the characters disintegrate."FVM Global Magazine "It was absolutely magical to be pulled into Coward's Vortex at the Malibu Playhouse. This dysfunctional family tale of adultery, drugs, fading youth and the class divide is brilliantly presented by director Gene Franklin Smith and some of the best actors around today. Craig Robert Young and Shannon Holt are at the top of their game."Wayne Jobson, 101.3 Indie Radio "The enjoyable new production of The Vortex at Malibu Playhouse demonstrates that it still has emotional resonance. Shannon Holt's Florence is bright and vivacious, conveying both Coward's inherent theatricality and the angry, frightened person behind the glittering front. Director Gene Franklin Smith keeps the pace sprightly, which serves the show well."Stage Raw "Shannon Holt gives a bravura performance as Florence. It is a juicy role and Holt squeezes all there is out of it. Nicky is superbly acted by Craig Robert Young. He depicts vividly the young man’s confused and unrequited longing for a maternal bond."  The Malibu Times "The divine Shannon Holt makes every role she plays deliciously, indelibly her own, and her Florence is no exception. Craig Robert Young is especially fine as Nicky, and never more so than in The Vortex's devastating gut-punch of a finale, played to the hilt by the play's two stars."  Stage Scene LA "Holt delivers a powerful performance, ranging from brittle sophistication to shrill hysteria to naked fear. Young is also impressive, taking Nicky on the downward spiral from Bright Young Thing to a final scene imbued with a truly frightening and obsessive madness. Victoria Hoffman is outstanding in the role of Helen, the family friend who sees clearly and attempts unsuccessfully to guide mother and son away from disaster." Malibu Surfside News "This production stays with you long after you leave the theatre. In fact, it’s hard to describe this production without sounding like one of Coward’s characters, speaking superlatives.  The Anglo Files