Richmond Theatre, London until Saturday 3 November 2018
Reviewed by Lisa Harlow
High Society is a musical based on the 1959 film of the same name which starred Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. The score by Cole Porter includes true classics such as True Love, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Let’s Misbehave. BROS Theatre company are an amateur dramatic company and the only non-commercial organisation to perform at Richmond Theatre.
We join them hosting this riotous pre-wedding party for the wealthy Newport, Rhode Island, socialite Tracy Samantha Lord (Heather Stockwell) to George Kittredge (Jason Thomas), the up and coming but rather boring businessman. Throw in the return of C.K. Dexter Haven (Nick Moorhead), former husband who remains in love with her and a new suitor in the guise of faux reporter Mike Connor (Jacob Botha), and the entanglements bubble away nicely with the gratuitous servings of champagne.
We follow the high jinx as Tracy begins an elaborate charade for the made up newspaper Spy Magazine who are supposedly covering the wedding, but are in fact in possession of compromising information about her father. The cast find their voices and volume as the performance progresses: the vocals throughout are smooth and soaring with Tracy and Dexter’s standing out in particular. The choreography and movements are largely well executed and allow you to immerse into the classic steps of the time. There are frequent set changes which provide an interesting backdrop to the show, although presented a few near misses on stage.
Rebecca Nardin as the younger, wiser sister Dinah Lord is notable for her confident and composed performance throughout. Her scene with Tracy presenting themselves as eccentric, self centred and spoilt rich kids is very entertaining, and the humorous scenes are well done. A live orchestra provide the high quality musical score, adding more old fashioned glamour to the hairstyles and extravagant partying. These elegant, tipsy “privileged classes” certainly seduce the audience alongside Mike Connor. This is an overall enjoyable embrace with a glass of gin in its hand telling the age old story of remembering where your true heart lies, no matter what where the money resides.