What a Swell Party, Nowich

Cole Porter wrote more than 300 songs at college and Begin the Beguine while cruising off Fiji. These facts and more are told in this cabaret celebration of the composer's life.

By MICHAEL DRAKE

He wrote more than 300 songs at college and Begin the Beguine while cruising off Fiji. Just a couple of an evening full of the facts of life of Cole Porter in a What a Swell Party, a cabaret showcase of his music at the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich, in which acting has an edge over individual voices but where ensemble singing is strong and choreography impressive.

Vocal character will no doubt develop and more smiles emerge as the cast of a dozen, with nearly non-stop piano accompaniment from David Kett, relax as the run progresses.

There is much humour too and it is interesting to watch Cole and his “family” as commentators of his biography and the development of a few home truths in Alison White's superb black and white art deco set.

Attractive period dresses (though why was one seemingly from the 1950s, I wonder?) add to the visual delight.

Love for Sale, Night and Day and I Love Paris are among the most satisfying vocally, building to another hit and the post-war musical Kiss Me Kate. There's pathos, Every Time We Say Goodbye and Wouldn't It Be Nice Not to be Famous. Cole Porter was, and it was Just One of Those Nights and great fun.

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Running until Saturday September 8 there are songs you will remember and some you won't but it's a slick party and you will have a swell time.

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