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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

NOEL AND COLE (article first published : 2007-10-15)

This evening’s major rugby game – don’t ask me, I’m rugby illiterate, but I think it was an important one – meant that Anthony Stonier had to compress his laid-back and entertaining Noel and Cole into one act without an interval so that people could leave the Rhumbelow Theatre in time to catch the game.

This might have been the reason he was thrown off balance occasionally but, experienced performer that he is, he overcame the odd glitches and kept his attentive audience riveted in this amiable and brief exploration of well-known songs by Noel Coward and Cole Porter.

By describing it as a brief exploration in no way denigrates Anthony’s presentation. To do proper justice to Coward and Porter, you’d need a time span of at least 12 hours, if not more! This fleeting glimpse into the output of two legendary songwriters offers an amusing and nostalgic musical stroll down memory lane presented by one of Durban’s best-loved entertainers.

The show offers snippets of information such as the fact that Noel Coward wrote one of his well-known numbers Senorita Nina in South Africa. It had its first performance in the Pietermaritzburg City Hall in 1948 but it wasn’t well received at the time. It was later reworked into the amusing number it is today.

Anthony pays tribute to the clipped and clever lyrics of Englishman, Noel Coward, and the more expansive romantic style of the all-American, Cole Porter, and demonstrates how they often crossed over into each other’s musical styles. Good friends as well as musical colleagues, they both reflected the elegance of the society in which they moved at the time.

Expect to hear Coward’s pithy Mad Dogs and Englishmen, I Went to a Marvellous Party (languidly performed à la Maggie Smith) and Don’t put your Daughter on the Stage, Mrs Worthington alongside Porter ‘s jazzy I’ve got you under my Skin, De-Lovely and Everytime we say Goodbye.

Noel and Cole offers no pretensions. There’s no glitzy, hyped cabaret show here. Just Anthony being himself and the works of two of the finest songwriters the world has produced. You will be wooed by the magnetism of the music and may pause to bemoan the fact that nobody writes lyrics or melodies like that any more.

Noel and Cole is an easily transportable production and can be performed in any venue with a piano, even a large sized living room big enough to accommodate enough people to cover the production cost. To book the show, contact Sue Clarence on 082 882 9869 or e-mail: clarence@icon.co.za – Caroline Smart

Many of the Noel Coward numbers in “Noel and Cole” can be seen in the award-winning smash-hit “Brutal Tunes” which returns to the Durban in January next year for a season at Seabrooke’s Theatre. It will feature the same inimitable and high-spirited cast: Lisa Bobbert, Anthony Stonier and Andrew Warburton.




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