High Society

Norwich Theatre Royal

> Norwich Theatre Royal

I don't think it's any mistake that the first song I knew from this Cole Porter classic was Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Poor little rich girl, Tracy Lord, how the moneyed life made her suffer, as she was courted first by one beau and then another, but was too much of a goddess to unlock her human side and find the love she sought.

It's not surprising that Katharine Hepburn leapt at this role in the original non-singing stage show The Philadelphia Story. She was swiftly followed by Grace Kelly in uptight mode in the MGM all-singing version.


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So, when High Society hit the stage at the Theatre Royal last night, perhaps it's only appropriate that it had all the ice of its heroine. The scene was set in an idyllic garden, with not a flower out of place and a fairytale house in the distance. Its geometric perfection was only matched by the faultless dancing of the 21-strong cast, who tapped and swayed and pirouetted in perfect time.

Costumes were all clean lines – black and white uniforms for the servants, and for the family, an array of green, satin knife-pleated frocks; floaty, blue taffetas and even a tutu. The pure spectacle of these fabrics whirling across the stage was enough to dazzle.

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Performances, too, were polished: Norfolk's own Liza Goddard turning in an understated performance as the wronged wife, and the whole cast singing like angels.

But where was the imperfection, where was the love? If only this show would drink champagne and dance naked on the roof, like its statuesque heroine, it would surely melt from bronze to pure gold.

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