NOEL AND GERTIE
Victoria Theatre (The Vic), 93 Victoria Rd, Devonport, Auckland
25/05/2012 - 03/06/2012
‘Noel and Gertie’ at The Victoria Theatre, Devonport
Join our “marvelous party” and take delight in the mischief, wit, backstage stories and music by the remarkable duo Noel Coward and Gertude Lawrence.
Cleverly crafted from diaries and letters between Coward and his stage partner Gertude Lawrence, this witty and moving show tells the story of the professional and personal relationship between two of the 20th Century’s greatest stage personalities – who epitomised an era of high style and elegance. So join us and sing along to their much loved songs, including ‘Someday I’ll find you’, Mrs Worthington’ and ‘I’ll see you again’.
Ticket prices: $28 adults, $18 children and $25 concession. $23 for groups 10+
Date and Times of show:
25th, 26th, 29th, 30th, 31st May, 1st, 2nd June: Evening performances 7pm
27th May and 3rd June 2pm matinees.
Phone: 446 0100
Noel Coward: Robert Tripe
Gertrude Lawrence: Sarah Somerville
Lighting Designer and Operator: Henry Scott
Producer and FOH Manager: Claire Noble
Warm, witty, enlightening and enchanting
Review by Shanon O'Sullivan 01st Jun 2012
From the concert halls and West End stages of London to the bright lights of Broadway, Noel and Gertie transports us into a bygone era of glitz, glamour and aplomb.
Actor Robert Tripe and actress Sarah Somerville brilliantly portray Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence, two of Britain’s legendary stage artists from the early 20th century. Coward was a renowned English playwright, actor, singer, director and composer and Lawrence a celebrated English theatre actress and singer.
The historic and beautifully restored Devonport Victoria Theatre couldn’t be a more appropriate thematic setting. Built in 1912 its grand entrance and opulent decor provide a warm invitation. An elaborate chandelier descends from the ceiling and antique props and a fine piano adorn the stage.
In their respective roles Tripe and Somerville personify their characters with remarkable ease. Their poise and sophisticated charm is captivating and their beautifully tailored evening attire radiates elegance.
The play highlights the devoted and mischievous friendship between Coward and Lawrence. From the outset Coward and Lawrence’s warm rapport is evident as they pay homage to one another. When one hollers “Let’s go back!” they take us back to the beginning of their careers as child performers in Christmas plays and seaside talent contests.
As the story unfolds they share with us many warm and witty stories from their private lives and on the stage during their illustrious careers, through song, dance and humour.
Tripe and Somerville glide effortlessly from Coward and Lawrence into various other character roles from Coward’s classic plays such as Private Lives and Tonight at 8.30 [his cycle of 10 one-act plays]. Their cheeky banter and frivolous quarrels in their differing roles hint at a doting old married couple. The quick, clever delivery of lines, and rise and fall of temperaments, provides an engaging pace.
A number of memorable songs are sung with heartfelt charm including ‘Someday I’ll Find You’, ‘Mrs Worthington’, ‘Dance Little Lady’ and ‘I’ll See You Again’. Somerville’s ‘Parisian Pierrot’ and ‘Sail Away’ are particularly notable.
Pianist Claire Caldwell’s flair and precision on the piano is integral within the performance and her timing is flawless. Lighting design from Henry Scott also dramatically enhances the mood between backstage antics and on-stage drama.
The style, skill and fortitude that Tripe and Somerville deliver is outstanding and a captivated audience applauds their approval many times throughout the show. The closing swan song, ‘I’ll See You Again’, poignantly unites performers and audience members. I am enlightened and enchanted.
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