Lost Musicals 2013: Words and Music at Sadler’s Wells
In black and white formal attire, with scripts in hand on a bare stage, the cast of Ian Marshall Fisher’s Words and Music imaginatively bring to life the characters, songs and sketches of Noel Coward’s musical revue at Sadler’s Wells in Islington.
The opening number, led vocally by Nicola Keen and the chorus girls, is a strong introduction to the talent and liveliness of the performances to come. The actors are animated and interestingly set the scene using only their physical action, with calculated movements and expressive faces, especially as they apply make-up and dress, emblematically recreating a backstage dressing room. Their vocals are telling in a humorous number that draws the audience in.
Driven by the musical direction of Ian Townsend, his accompaniment on piano is skilful and he successfully sets the tone, pace and atmosphere for the entire production, along with dynamic performances by James Vaughan and Vivienne Martin – both sure to keep you laughing throughout.
Although the black folders they hold with the script can be distracting initially, the actors consistently remain in character, which allows the audience to overlook the props after a few numbers.
While more popular tunes like Mad Dogs and Englishmen and Mad About the Boy are boisterously delivered, the most compelling songs are those performed by many of the supporting players.
Craig Berry and Holly Dale Spencer captivatingly complement one another in Let’s Say Goodbye. Berry convincingly conveys longing and sadness in his approach and mannerisms, while Spencer is effortlessly charming as she eagerly chooses to part ways with this passing lover.
Pamela Miles is extremely believable and mesmerising in The Younger Generation. The way she looks upon her daughters with pride, sharing her knowledge, she embodies the warm, motherly-type figure. It’s that much more surprising and equally amusing to discover her true nature.
Although the cast superbly recreate this piece, the outdated content can somewhat explain why this musical is lost.
Lost Musicals 2013: Words and Music is at Sadler’s Wells Theatre until 4th August 2013. For further information or to book visit the show’s website here.