is a 1930s musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter and a simple
story by Moss Hart. It was apparently written while Porter and Hart
were enjoying an extended cruise, which may be at the root of the
froth and frivolity that fills this musical.
plot is simple. Four members of a royal family decide they are bored
of being royal and head out to experience something of the real
world. Each of them encounters someone who makes them realise that
there is more to life than stuffy pomp and ceremony.
large ensemble cast work well together in this surprisingly
large-scale production – the ‘overture’ sequence features seven
couples tap dancing in unison, a feat in itself on such a small
stage. Noteworthy individual performances are Cooke-Hodgson’s
comedic Queen, who is funny without being too pantomime dame-ish,
Gambhir’s nice-but-dim Rausmiller (the skimpiness of his costumes
will be appreciated by many), and Leinmuller’s Dare, a witty
take-off of Noel Coward. There are no real weak links, but Culler
could afford to turn down the shrillness a couple of notches and
still retain the comedy.
are some impressive vocal talents on display, although the sound
balance needs some work: Cooke-Hodgson overpowers Paul in their duet
'Me And Marie', and the musical accompaniment overpowers Williamson’s
pretty vocals as she performs a full-on brassy burlesque routine to
the show’s best-known tune, 'Begin The Beguine'.
is a product of its time and as such is rather dated, but this
production embraces that as a source of humour. It’s intended to be
light and frothy rather than deep and meaningful, and as a result is
likely to make you tap your feet and leave the Tabard whistling one
of its tunes.