A LIGHT comedy of manners by Noël Coward will be performed at Bingley Arts Centre this month.

Bingley Little Theatre is presenting the three-act play Nude With Violin from Monday to Friday, May 21 to 26.

The play is the famous writer’s satire on modern art, criticism, artistic pretension and the value placed on art.

The play is set in Paris in the mid-1950s soon after the death of world-famous painter Paul Sorodin.

His relatives and compatriots converge on his studio, hopeful of gaining wealth from his will, and are stunned to learn that the dead artist left a letter explaining that he never painted a picture in his life.

The paintings of Sorodin’s acclaimed three major periods, it turns out, were created by a trio of oddballs.

The original London production of Nude With Violin opened in 1956 and proved a theatrical hit, running for more than a year.

But it never matched the popularity of Coward’s early hits, before the Second World War, and the play has rarely been revived professionally.

Coward had not written a commercial theatrical success since his 1945 revue Sigh No More.

Despite his hard work for his country during the war, Coward became popular with the public as a tax exile, he was criticised by the British press, and he was seen as outdated.

His 1955 Las Vegas night club act became a hit, however, leading to appearances on American television, including a successful 1956 TV adaptation of of his comedy classic Blithe Spirit.

What followed was a run of well-written, well-received new plays, beginning with Nude With Violin.

John Gielgud starred in the first London production, and a Broadway production opened the following year, winning the 1958 Tony Award for Best Scenic Design.

In Coward’s centenary year, 1999, the play was presented at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, with a cast including Derek Griffiths, Marcia Warren, Tamzin Malleson and Nick Caldecott.

Bingley Little Theatre finishes its 2017/18 season with Richard Curtis’s TV sitcom Blackadder Goes Forth, set during the First World War and staged from July 2 to 7.

Nude With Violin is at Bingley Arts Centre from Monday to Saturday, May 21 to 26, at 7.30pm. Visit bingleylittletheatre.co.uk or call 01274 567983 to book.