High Society – National Tour

Reviewed by Garry McWilliams

Well, did you evah? What a swell party this is! The glamour of the 1930s came to Wolverhampton last night and it wasn’t only the stars of the show who shone in glitzy outfits. Patrons of the Grand Theatre were offered star treatment upon entering the foyer, having photographs taken on the red carpet and champagne cocktails on the menu at the bar. They had been encouraged to dress for the occasion and it seemed that most were enthusiastic in embracing the suggestion.

The show follows the story of socialite Tracy Lord who is planning her wedding to George Kittredge and has previously been married to yacht designer, Dexter Haven. When Haven turns up the day before the wedding (much to the delight of Dinah (Tracy’s little sister) who wishes that he was still married to Tracy), a catalogue of events leads to various situations not unlike that of a ‘bedroom farce’! Adding extra complications, is the arrival of reporter Mike Connor and his colleague Liz Imbrie. Connor falls for the bride-to-be, while Imbrie’s romantic intentions towards him go unnoticed – although not by everyone. ‘True Love’ prevails, but the unexpected arrival of Tracy and Dinah’s father and Tracy’s behaviour while under the influence of champagne contribute towards the pre-wedding chaos. Chaos that the staff at the ‘Lord’ house don’t necessarily appreciate!

With a cast of twenty, ‘High Society’ made for a marvellous evening’s entertainment with catchy, popular numbers including ‘Well, Did You Evah’, a significant amount of dialogue in between the songs and a spectacular ‘Art Deco’ themed set. The cast was led by Sophie Bould as Tracy Lord, she was a fantastic all-rounder with great technical ability in her singing. When she closed act one with ‘True Love’ her vocal control was outstanding. Michael Praed of ‘Dynasty’ fame played Dexter Haven and I admit that he stole the show for me, effortless singing and the timing in delivering his lines was flawless – an impressive performance, indeed.

Also putting in a notable appearance was Daniel Boys as Reporter, Mike Connor and Alex Young as his colleague, Liz Imbrie. Boys has certainly come a long way since he auditioned to be ‘Joseph’ on ‘Any Dream Will Do’ and it was a pity that he didn’t have many musical numbers to show case his excellent vocal talent. Although ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ was a highlight and Young demonstrated quick witted comic timing together with a beautiful singing voice. Katie Lee as Dinah Lord is one to watch out for as she has recently graduated from Sylvia Young Theatre School and it is evident that she has the tenacity to go far in the industry. Teddy Kempner was larger than life as Uncle Willie, he delighted the audience with many humorous moments and took his bow during curtain call to rapturous applause.

Two numbers in act two that stood out were ‘Let’s Misbehave’ which was enormous fun to watch and included a scene in the kitchen where the ensemble drummed on the cookware and also tap danced on top of it! Also ‘Don’t Look At Me That Way’ which was performed as a duet with great hilarity by Uncle Willie and Liz Imbrie – it is clear that Teddy Kempner and Alex Young have a talent for character acting.

Visit http://www.highsocietymusical.com for tour dates and information for booking tickets. Highly recommended feel-good musical, catch it if you can!

First published 01.03.13


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