Review: A party that took a while to get started

In a scene from High Society are Sophie Bould as Tracy Lord, Teddy Kempner as Uncle Willie and Marilyn Cutts as Mother Lord (Photo Credit Pamela Raith).
In a scene from High Society are Sophie Bould as Tracy Lord, Teddy Kempner as Uncle Willie and Marilyn Cutts as Mother Lord (Photo Credit Pamela Raith).
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High Society, Lyceum

Cole Porter’s classic music and a witty script should have guaranteed a sparkling evening out but the show took a bit of time to get up a head of steam.

The story revolves around the high society wedding of Tracy Lord in 1938 Long Island.

Tracy, played by Sophie Bould, is settling for self-made man George Kittredge (Keiron Crook), who worships her.

Her ex-husband Dexter Haven (Michael Praed) turns up unexpectedly, bearing the news that a reporter and photographer from Spy magazine are sneaking in to cover the big event.

Dexter also wants Tracy to realise that life on a pedestal as the society ice queen will be unbearable and wants her to join thereal world.

Eventually, she is torn between Dexter, George and reporter Mike (Daniel Boys) and a drunken pre-wedding ball, immortalised by the song What a Swell Party This Is, doesn’t do much to help clear up the dilemma.

Sophie Bould is a good Tracy, especially when she finally lets her hair down a bit, but sadly her lovely voice was overwhelmed by the orchestra.

Michael Praed has great stage presence as the suave Dexter and puts over the songs pretty well but maybe he’s a little too understated.

There’s some lovely comic turns by Marilyn Cutts as Tracy’s frustrated mum, loverlorn photographer Liz Alex Young) and Teddy Kempner as the entertaining drunk Uncle Willie.

However, 17-year-old Katie Lee, playing kid sister Dinah, really stole the show, her bright personality shining out.

The chorus of servants had plenty of business to do between scenes while moving around the clever scenery.

I found some of this a bit long-winded, although it was performed very slickly.