The New Yorkers, Lilian Baylis Theatre, London
Wednesday 01 April 2009
The songs are not so much integrated into Herbert Fields's lightweight book as flung at it, and many of the lines have been overtaken by advances in smut. But, since many wisecracks and all the digs at corruption defy age (the bootlegger gets in trouble only when he forgets to send champagne to the policemen's ball), Ian Marshall Fisher's production burbles merrily along.
The main attraction is the score by Cole Porter, who dips into the blues idiom for the casual-but-intense song of lovers meeting, "Where Have You Been?", with its foreshadowings of "Why Can't You Behave?" from Kiss Me, Kate. There are high-stepping numbers, such as "I'm Getting Myself Ready for You", a dieting song in which the girl nixes fatty foods to prepare for the moment she reveals all and the boy downs oysters for the same reason. Best of all is the coolly hypnotic "Love for Sale", offering a second-hand passion that's "only slightly soiled" in rhythms that anticipate the even greater "Night and Day" of two years later.
Anna Francolini is delightfully droll as the debutante, though her manner is more slummy than slumming. And Dawn Spence's nightclub singer limply displays her songs rather than selling them. But Craige Els is utterly charming as the suave bootlegger and Michael Roberts surprisingly successful at impersonating the original comic, Jimmy Durante, that sublime faun from Brooklyn. And Sandra Marvin provides a welcome ballast of earthiness with her contradict-me-if-you-dare rendition of "I Happen to Like New York" and her no-nonsense gold-digging. "Don't put us in a draft," she orders a maitre d' when out with her rich and ancient beau. "He's gotta last till I get him home."
To 26 April (0844 412 4300)
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Jessica Chastain demands Scarlett Johansson-fronted Marvel superhero movie
Downton Abbey series 5 start date revealed: ITV drama to return in late September
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
How to read Will Self: Unlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
New Netflix releases: Films and TV shows coming in September 2014
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain