High Society by Cole Porter, lyrics by Cole Porter and Susan Birkenhead Celebrating the company´┐
BROS Theatre Company
Richmond Theatre - 01 November 2018
Glitzy Glitterati Rediscovers True Love
by Cole Porter, lyrics by Cole Porter and Susan Birkenhead
Celebrating the company’s 110th year
BROS Theatre Company at Richmond Theatre until 3rd November
Review by Mark Aspen
True love: well, it “never did run smooth” says Shakespeare’s Lysander. True love: does wealth get in its way? True love: Will it win out in the end? True love so much a theme in Cole Porter’s musical comedy High Society that the central musical number is called True Love. And this is just what glamorous American socialite Tracy Samantha Lord has lost and is trying to find, as it seems are most of her household, her family and friends.
Tracy is the jewel of the Long Island glitterati. It is the summer of 1938 and her household, family and friends are making last minute preparations for her extravagant wedding to successful businessman George Kittredge, who just happens to own a few gold mines. Then who should swan along, sailing his yacht along the estuary up to the Lord estate, but Tracy’s ex-husband, C.K. Dexter Haven. The name of the yacht … True Love!
The plot thickens when gossip columnists, Mike Macaulay Connor and Liz Imbrie arrive pretending to be guests, whilst covering the wedding for the tabloid Spy. It seems that Dexter has discovered that Spy is planning an exposé of Tracy’s father Seth, who is having an affair with a dancer. It is Dexter’s idea to invite them and cover up the situation by passing off the absent-minded Uncle Willie as the absent husband Seth.
Confusion abounds, lubricated by copious amounts of alcohol at the wedding eve party. At the Lord mansion, the oiling of the party is run smoothly by the coordinated team of the domestic staff, and BROS’s skilful ensemble of an octet of Singing Servants moves the show along like clockwork. Well, Did You Evah! … “What a swell party this is”, they all sing as romantic relationships are discovered, rediscovered or uncovered; assignations engineered or thwarted; and bonds broken or created by True Love.
High Society is largely Tracy’s story, and the leading role of Tracy Lord is a gift for the award-winning Heather Stockwell, whose vivacious performance lights up the part. Tracy’s path is one of self-discovery, and Stockwell makes that emotional journey lightly, without losing the sense of joie de vivre that is the essence of Tracy. Nick Moorhead portrays Dexter as a genial and dynamic man, with a ready wit, but one determined to regain his ex-wife. We don’t know why they parted, but we see that both have in truth regretted it. Their star centrepiece is True Love, sung with depth, precision and warmth by both singers.
Read Mark Aspen’s full review at www.markaspen.wordpress.com/2018/10/31/high-soc
Photography by Paul Nicholas Dyke
BROS Theatre Company at Richmond Theatre until 3rd