In some ways, Tom Lehrer’s witty cabaret songs are a lineal descendent of those of Nöel Coward. Coward had the measure of “Mad dogs and Englishmen” and “The stately homes of England”. The American Lehrer has demolished with equal wit the autumn hunting frenzy of the North and the ante-bellum nostalgia of the South. The Tomfoolery compilation by Cameron Macintosh and Robin Ray is given a smart new airing by Connaught Productions at Frinton and on an East Anglian tour.
Tom Littler directs it all with a light touch. The choreography is by Duncan Royce and the black-and-white Art Deco-inspired set, fronted by a white piano and cocktail bar, of Martin Robinson evokes both the period of the songs and the sophistication of a New York milieu. The linking narrative reminds us that these pieces were all composed between the 1950s and 1980s. They also remind us that nothing much has changed in the world since then.