Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre 12 – 30 April. Reviewed by Claire Roderick
All Star Productions have done it again – what a show!
The London premiere of Cole Porter’s brilliantly bonkers musical about lusty gods is a triumph.
Jupiter has his eye on newly married mortal Helen, so sends Mercury down to earth to get rid of husband Art and arrange a rendezvous in Greece. Jupiter’s wife, Juno suspects he’s up to something, so sets off to catch Jupiter in the act. Mercury gets distracted by Chloe, the niece of Niki Skolianos, a Chicago gangster in hiding, but the plan works and Jupiter has his way.
It is all ridiculous fluff, and it is gloriously funny. Porter’s innuendo laden lyrics are a joy – Mercury’s appraisal of his back catalogue of lovers “They Couldn’t Compare” whilst wooing Chloe, is full of the sort of filth you can share with your gran. These may not be Porter’s best known tunes, but they are still sublime. Kate McPhee’s choreography is a lovely match for the music, full of familiar motifs, buzzing with energy and delivered with knowing looks by the ensemble. The faces of the male dancers when they are dancing as gods are almost worth the ticket price alone. Even the ballet sequence, my least favourite part in these musicals, was performed with a wink to the audience, with Austin Garrett’s hapless Strephon thinking he’d finally pulled.
Dwight Taylor and Reginald Lawrence’s script fizzes in the hands of this talented group of actors – the timing and reactions are superb. And they can all sing – no weak links in this production at all, with some delightful harmonies and belting vocals. Rhiannon Moushall owns the stage as Juno – wonderful in whatever accent she is using – and her powerhouse solos are full of sly humour and regret. Cameron Bernard Jones has a god-like voice, but a devilish twinkle in his eyes, and is a fantastic Jupiter, bringing the house down with his “Song Of The Night”. Hugo Joss Catton is great as Mercury, his reactions when his mother starts discussing sex with him are hysterical. Ruth Betteridge and Adam Hepworth (Helen and Art) have a lovely rapport, he does hangdog very well, and Betteridge manages to make you care about the least interesting character in the story. Their version of “From This Moment On” is full of fun and sexual frustration.
Director Randy Smartnick has created a crowd pleasing, feel-good show. The set design is simple, with a hysterically ramshackle Mount Olympus that feels perfect for this bunch of clownish gods. Sky Bembury’s lighting is warm and nostalgic, evoking Hollywood musicals.
Out Of This World is a superbly silly night of song and laughter that definitely deserves a wider audience. I loved it.