Fringe Box



Review: High Society – G Live

Published on: 10 Jul, 2013
Updated on: 10 Jul, 2013

Daniel Boys, left, with Marilyn Cutts and Michael Praed

by the Stage Dragon

“Well, did you ever…” the touring performance of High Society finally arrived last night to light up the stage at G Live in first Guildford performance.

It delighted a large audience graced by several of our very own Guildford ‘High Society’.

We were all, High Society and nobodies, quickly transported from the Upper High Street to the high society 1930’s home of the ‘Lord’ family and introduced to the bride to be, Tracey Lord (played by Sophie Bould).

The energetic ensemble with art deco props, toe tapping Cole Porter classics and unnoticeable, on stage costume changes, befitting of the era, introduced the leading lady as she instantly enchanted us with her pitch perfect voice, charming frivolity and beguiling stage presence.

Based on the 1956 hit film starring Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly the show is about three men vying for glamorous Tracey Lord’s affection on the eve of her wedding to George Kitteridge.

Her ex-husband Dexter Haven played by Michael Praed turns up uninvited to win her back and there is an added twist of Mike Connor a supposed reporter played by Daniel Boys who falls for Tracey Lord’s charms and her, his.

I hadn’t seen the movie so without knowing who Tracey Lord would finally chose to marry thought that surely her tall,  imposing fiancée on bended knee singing :‘I worship you’, was in with a strong chance?

The story reminds me of the block buster Mamma Mia, I likened Dexter to the role of Sam Carmichael played by Pierce Brosnan; so charming, so handsome, so debonair. And, also like Pierce Brosnan, singing is perhaps not his strongest suit.

The set changes were fluid and flawless and took place during song and dance, a feeling of movement was created with the rotating stage and the band were superb.

But I was still waiting for that feeling of excitement and celebration you get when a cork pops from a champagne bottle. Warmed by a glass of wine in the interval and chatting with Katie Ogilvie, who said the show was: “Going really well.” We returned to the second half and were greeted with a full stage, full ensemble, full energy fountain of overflowing dance and song. There it was.

Yet for all the fun and frolics, there were moments when the ex-marital bickering between Dexter and Tracey Lord, (I could have stayed at home for that) or the slightly chewy American accents meant the show lost some energy and possibly our attention but it was always restored by the young Katie Lee who played the teenage sister, Dinah Lord adding her youthful fizz to an otherwise 30’s plus cast. She is a star in the making.

This was no amateur performance. The relationships between the characters were natural and believable, the undeniably professional and talented performances of Alex Young played by Liz Imbrie, who like her leading lady could sing, dance and act with effortless grace and adeptness.

The mother, Margaret Lord played by Marilyn Cutts was wonderful to watch, it was only a shame we had to wait so long to hear Daniel Boys showcase his sensational voice, but it was a treat worth waiting for. What a difficult choice Tracey Lord had to make.

Uncle Willie played by (Teddy Kempner) to use his own words added: The “confidence and savoire faire” to the show, together with his gusto and foolishness that amused my 16 year old son who had joined me for the evening.

Sadly, the Cole Porter songs that most of us of middle age and beyond recall: ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ and ‘True Love’ were not familiar to him and will possibly be lost to his generation but all the more reason to take him, he said: “The acting and prop changes were very good.”

Overall, a swell evening of toe tapping fun.

The show runs at G Live Guildford until Saturday 13th July 2013

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