There are affectionate tribute shows, and then there’s The Two Most Perfect Things, which feels more like a clandestine underground meeting for believers in the cult of Messrs Coward and Novello.
And if you happen to be a believer, you’ll have to get down to Jermyn Street pretty sharpish as this light-as-a-feather and utterly charming little show is only running for five nights.
Four highly experienced performers – Adrian Fisher (who also writes, along with musical director Stuart Barham), Charles Howell, Margaret Preece and Isabelle Roeland – combine to tell the tale of the rise, fall and rise again of these two giants of mid-20th century light entertainment.
Between biographical snapshots, which take the form of revue sketches, the accomplished foursome perform a mind-boggling number of songs which, by my reckoning (including an epic encore medley), reaches well over 60 in number.
If you have favourites, you’re pretty much guaranteed to hear them, from Novello’s heartbreaking “Keep the Home Fires Burning” to Coward’s sultry “Mad About the Boy”.
If you’re already an aficionado there will be few surprises along the way, although it’s interesting to be reminded just how big a star Novello really was – a star that has, in our present time, undoubtedly been eclipsed by Coward’s.
The singing is pitch-perfect, as you would probably expect from these four, and though a few cues were missed and occasional lines fluffed, it mattered not a jot to the beaming, nostalgic faces around me. Not often you hear calls of ‘bravo’ these days – and I could just imagine Coward and Novello sweetly raising a cocktail glass in reply.