Noel/Cole: Letís Do It
Richmond Theatre, March 1995
Reviewed by Emma Shane © 1997
††††††††††† †When I saw the show at the, oft acknowledged, beautiful, Richmond Theatre, where it was touring, Pat Kirkwood was no longer in it and Francis Matthews had replaced Robin Ray (who had himself replaced Ned Sherrin). I never entirely realised at the time how the cast just seemed to give it a certain something extra. Something which made you feel that they meant it and that they themselves were enjoying it. For example, David Kernan - This project was his baby, and by the time I saw it had become something of a hit, so no wonder he was clearly enjoying its fruition.
††††††††††† †The first half opened with the trio (David Kernan Liz Robertson (Lerner) and Louise Gold) singing an opening medley: Something in the way Louise is rasping ANOTHER OPENING OF ANOTHER SHOW sounds oddly familiar, though I donít recall her rasping like that in RED HOT AND BLUE, so I (subsequently - on reading her resume the programme) realise that maybe her voice is a bit familiar from THE MUPPET SHOW. Liz then sings MY HEART BELONGS TO DADDY, to anyone who knows Ms Robertsonís background, which I didnít at the time, she might well be hinting at a certain Broadway lyricist in this song. Perhaps she was thinking of him in this context. When not singing, and sometimes when they are, the trio are seated on stools at the sides of the sage, or by the two grand pianos After this it was Davidís turn to sing MATELOT.
††††††††††† This was followed by Louise walking to a spotlight at the back of the stage announcing "Iím gonna be saved", eliciting groans from the other two. Moving around in that spotlight at 5ft9" tall in a brown satin trouser suit, throwing her thick chestnut curls about her shoulders, in a Muppet-like manner, Louise Gold is a striking figure belting BLOW GABRIEL BLOW , though it has to be said that her interpretation started off so weird that for a moment of two I did think "This is very weird, do I like it", fortunately Louise is very good at getting away with interpretations that other singers would not (I mean she can make them work), and so won me over by about half way through the number. (Sheís such a weird/extraordinary singer that one sometimes has to play her recordings a couple of times through just to get used to her interpretations, before you can decide whether you like it - I find that I usually do like it, by the time Iíve played it three times!). This number was typical of Louise Goldís entire performance that evening. She appeared to be so naturally at ease; On the spot-lit stage of Richmond Theatre belting a good old song, just seemed to be so exactly where she belonged that to use a cliched expression " it was almost as if sheíd come home".
††††††††††† This extraordinary effort was followed by the trio performing Cowardís FORBIDDEN FRUIT and Porters BULLDOG, the latter complete with cheerleaderís pom-poms. Next Peter Greenwell came on and did his Noel Coward numbers extremely well, very lively, these being MRS WORTHINGTON and ALICE IS AT IT AGAIN.
††††††††††† †With the absence of Pat Kirkwood Liz and Louise dueted YOUíRE THE TOP. This was followed by two more real stunning piece. I think, though I am not absolutely certain that it was Peter Greenwell who did MISS OATIS REGRETS extremely effectively; only to be topped by Louise Goldís unbeatable rendition of THE PHYSICIAN, truly nobody can switch accents quite so often, so quickly and so effectively, (I agree with Jeremy Kingston when he said in his newspaper review "But I wish she had included the line he did a double hurdle as she shakes her pelvic girdle, if only because she would have shaken it so well").
††††††††††† For the second half the two women were both wearing long evening dresses. Louiseís was slit to the thigh, showing off her legs. After opening the second half with a medley of NIGHT AND DAY and IN THE STILL OF THE NIGHT the company put on glitzy Top hats to perform a medley of IíM THROWING A BALL TONIGHT/WELL DID YOU EVER/WEíVE BEEN TO A MARVELLOUS PARTY, the former being particularly well suited to Louise Gold, and the latter perfect for all four performers. This was followed by Peter Greenwell appeared, complete with a string of onions around his neck to sing USELESS USEFUL PHRASES.
††††††††††† †However a real highlight of the second half, regrettably not on the CD, but one really needed to see it anyway, was BRUSH UP YOUR SHAKESPEARE this was performed by the trio, but the most striking of them here was definitely Louise, at 5ft9" tall, and wearing high heels - which made her look even taller! slinky black evening dress slit to the thigh, and she certainly has legs to suit this style, with a glitzy top had settled on her titan curls, the whole effect was topped off by having her standing at a slight angle to, and slightly apart from, the other two (they were facing the audience), cracking a whip inches away from their noses ( as Jeremy Kingston remarked in his newspaper review "She proves a dab hand with the whip in Brush up your Shakespeare"). Again one felt that this is precisely where she belongs.
††††††††††† To illustrate how Coward liked to parody Porter David Kernan performed cowardís catchy NINA, this was followed by Louise performing the song it was meant to be a parody of BEGIN THE BEGUINE (Though I do so wish British Musical Theatre fans could have had the chance to see the original context which this lovely song came from)
††††††††††† Two armchairs were dragged out to the front of the stage for I WONDER WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM. After the closing medley Finale, the company then sang their title song LETíS DO IT LETS FALL IN LOVE, complete not only with Cowardís additional lyrics, to this Porter number, but various other extra lyrics by David Kernan, Dick Vosburgh and Robin Ray, which somehow managed to include the line "Even Major with his shirt tucked in his pants does it", that line was sung, as one might expect by a performer who, helped to set up Spitting Image!
††††††††††† What a lovely show, it is quite one of the nicest memories I have of seeing a show at Richmond Theatre.†††††
Performances of Noel/Cole; Letís Do it have included:
Arts Festival in Memphis Tennasse - End of January 1994,
Oxfords Play House - 7 - 12 February 1994,
Chichester Festival Theater - 27 July to 1 October 1994
Yvonne Arnaud Theater - 14 - 25 February 1995
Richmond Theater -27 February - 4th March 1995
There were also two private gigs in one of the main galleries in Madame Tusuads. About which Louise Gold was once quoted as saying: "To find yourself performing in front of the Royal family and most of the worlds heads of _ quite something. I donít think I shall ever have _ distinguished audience"
(This quote comes from a newspaper clipping from sometime between 20 and 24 July 1997. Unfortunately I do not know what newspaper it is from, and the copy we have of it is damaged)
Webmaster's footnote: It should perhaps be explained that the reviewer was wishing that the Satirical Cole Porter & Moss Hart musical Jubilee from which Begin The Beguine originated could be seen by British audiences, at the time, some venues deemed it too satirical. But, it has to be said, that when Ian Marshall-Fisher was finally able to mount a production of it in December 1999, there were performers in the audience who had been in far far more outrageous home grown satires than Jubilee (for example: Unity Theatre's Babes In The Wood, and, Spitting Image).