OUT OF THIS WORLD
Music and lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Dwight Taylor & Reginald Lawrence.
Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre to 30 April
53 Hoe Street, London E 17 4SA to 30 April 2016.
Tues-Sat 7.30pm. Mat Sun 3pm.
Runs 2hr 30 mins One interval.
TICKETS: 020 8520 8674.
Review: William Russell 15 April.
Oh Mr Porter what a witty show!
Randy Smartnick’s production fizzes with energy and the youthful cast handle most of Cole Porter’s songs for this 1950 Broadway show with aplomb although with perhaps less sophistication than is required.
The problem with the show, which only ran for 157 performances, was the book, which was, and remains in spite of Mr Smartnick’s work on it, a rather tasteless tale of gods coming to earth and sleeping around. In 1950 it was seen as vulgar.
Martin Duncan in 2004 at Chichester managed to get away with it – Anne Reid starred as Juno hot in pursuit of her errant husband Jupiter – but the show did not transfer in spite of a very strong cast.
Porter’s score is glorious, especially after they restored From This Moment On – inserted into the film of Kiss Me Kate – dropped because the Broadway actor could not sing it. The song was potentially the cast iron hit number actually, which shows how much they know about these things. However, what was left from Use Your Imagination by way of Where, Oh Where to Cherry Pies not to mention Juno’s numbers, notably the hilarious Nobody’s Chasing Me, and the rousing opening chorus for Act Two, Climb Up The Mountain, is treasure trove enough.
Jupiter, who has a habit of sleeping with mortals, falls for a pretty American and gets his son Mercury to fix it. She comes to Greece on her honeymoon with her journalist husband, he is dispatched to look for a Mafia gangster who runs the hotel they are staying in, and Jupiter duly has his wicked way with the bride. Juno arrives and all sorts of complications ensure.
Mr Smartnick has problems get round the bad taste elements to make it all a soufflé, but he does get a terrific raunchy performance from Rhyannon Moushall as Juno, although putting her big lament that while everyone else is getting it she isn’t into a production number complete with prancing chorus – it closes the show – is a mistake. It is the words that matter and crystal clear earlier on she gets muffled by being stuck back stage. The acoustics here are always tricky, but this time the band is behind the singers so the sound balance is fine although one or two do rather over vocalise. There is no need to bawl, just sing.
Diction is also a problem.
Hugo Joss Catton is a very perky messenger of the Gods and Cameron Bernard Jones, in good voice, makes a suitably predatory Jupiter. The chance to see the show is certainly worth taking and whatever its flaws as regards plot, the Porter words and music dazzle.
Jupiter: Cameron Bernard Jones.
Juno: Rhiannon Moushall.
Mercury: Hugo Joss Catton.
Helen O’Malley: Ruth Betteridge.
Chloe: Megan Gilmartin.
Art O’Malley: Adam Hepworth.
Niki Skolianos/ Mars: Danny Becker.
Spirit of Night/Dance Captain: Katie Deacon.
Bacchus: Anto Buckley.
Minerva/Aurora: Maria Brodmann.
Diana: Chloe Tait.
Strephon/Pluto: Austin Garrett.
Apollo: Dominic Scott.
Venus/Bartender: Amie Carter.
Director: Randy Smartnick.
Choreographer & Costume Designer: Kate McPhee.
Musical Director: Aaron Clingham.
Lighting Designer: Sky Bembury.
Ballet choreographer: Katie Deacon.