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A CurtainUp London Review
Lady Be Good
Dick (Chris Ellis-Stanton) and Susie Trevor (Kate Nelson) are evicted from their mansion in Rhode Island because they are in debt. To secure their financial future, Dick proposes ditching his girlfriend Shirley (Rachel Jerram) and marrying a wealthy heiress Josephine Vanderwater (Hattie Ladbury). Susie meanwhile bumps into, and is attracted to Jack Robinson (Norman Bowman) whom she thinks is penniless like her. The Trevors' lawyer, Watty Watkins (Paul Grunert) proposes that Susie should impersonate the widow of a rich man to claim the inheritance and Susie goes along with the plan to save her brother from a loveless marriage.
This is a stylish small scale production with excellent performances from the ensemble cast. The set is giant skewed piano with double bass and drum kit. The piano keys form a stair with the piled up drum kit and it is all in very stylish black and white. Ian Talbot directs for over the top laughs because otherwise the dialogue might seem very dated. Costumes and wigs are in period and we can see how much the art of hairdressing has improved since the 1920s.
The cast can all sing and dance exceptionally well and there is lots of shimmying and the Charleston also figures. Our sibling couple, Dick and Susie, are played by Chris Ellis-Stanton and Kate Nelson. Susie has to wear a Mexican mantilla in the sub plot but she carries it off well. Norman Bowman as Jack sings a lovely duet with Susie. There is comedy choreography in the "Just Another Rhumba" number where rhumba rhymes with dumber. "I'd Rather Charleston" is tip top choreographically and looks fun! Watty Watkins (Paul Grunert) and Bertie Bassett (Giles Taylor), with his forehead curls, provide the comedy interest along with Daisy Parke (Charlotte Warren). Susie's line, "Oh Dickie it's going to rain!" gets a big ironic laugh from the long suffering British public but we did manage to see the show out the night we went holding off the wet weather!