Porter tunes hit the mark

THE College Operatic Society returned to the Kenneth More Theatre last week with a lively production of Cole Porter s memorable musical, High Society. Directed by Jo Shepherd, this piece had a certain raffish charm and was blessed with strong leads with e

THE College Operatic Society returned to the Kenneth More Theatre last week with a lively production of Cole Porter's memorable musical, High Society.

Directed by Jo Shepherd, this piece had a certain raffish charm and was blessed with strong leads with excellent voices.

But at times the show would more appropriately have been titled High Jinks as some of the humorous scenes were handled so raucously that they seemed ready to teeter into chaos.

This robbed the piece of the classiness we loved in the film and rendered it less compelling than it could have been. And the less said about the dancing, the better.


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A number of players also gave the impression that they were very nervous, and some of the key scenes were not helped by the fact that the actors had their eyes fixed on music director James Sear - or one of the TV monitors - throughout.

That said, this show went down very well with KMT audiences, who sighed with delight as the cast launched into the big numbers, which include Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, True Love and the sassy Let's Misbehave.

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James led his musicians and the cast with a firm hand and the music was excellent.

Charlotte Dennis gave a strong performance as the slightly scatty Tracy Lord, a divorcee who is about to marry again when her ex-husband reappears, along with a journalist who takes a distinct interest in this rich heiress.

As Tracy, Charlotte was required to run the whole gamut from anger to zany humour, and she did an impressive job. Her lovely soprano voice thrilled the audience in numbers like Once Upon a Time.

Patrick Enright was equally strong as Tracy's ex, Dexter, a boat designer with a twinkle, who charmed the audience along with his former wife. John Utting did a good job as the reporter Mike Connor. And Gemma Cooper was sweetly convincing as photographer Liz Imbrie.

Katie Pearce gave a confidence performance as Tracy's scheming little sister, Dinah.

Lee Kenneth has a strong voice and great confidence, but - and perhaps it was his bow ties and cricket sweaters - his portrayal of Tracy's fianc�e George was rather one-dimensional and would perhaps have been more at home in a P.G. Wodehouse.

- SUE LEEMAN

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