(Donald Mahoney’s article appeared in Irish Theatre Magazine, 8/2.)

Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis in its medical parlance, is a reaction brought on by the ingestion of dust or pollen, matter that is barely visible but everpresent in the world. Noël Coward's play of the same name features the Bliss family, also susceptible to wild fits in response to obscure elements all around them – but instead of coughing or sneezing, the family suffers an unusual and incurable comic madness.


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