THE ‘real life love story’ of playwright and songwriter Noel Coward and actress Gertrude Lawrence is told in a musical comedy that tours to Livingston’s Eastwood Park Theatre, this Sunday.
Noel & Gertie is a revival of Sheridan Morley’s hit play crafted from diaries and letters between the pair that originally ran in the West End for nine years.
2017, the tenth anniversary of Morley’s death, sees the piece revived as a celebration of his life.
Director Matthew Townshend says, “This play encapsulates a real-life love story and the complex relationship between an extraordinary duo who were inseparable until Gertrude’s premature death from cancer.
“It epitomizes an era of sophistication and elegance and features songs, sketches and snippets of scenes from some of Coward’s most famous work.”
Helen Power, who has previously appeared in Sunset Boulevard on the West End plays Gertie, while Ben Stock, whose West End credits include Grease and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, plays Coward.
Musical direction is by the acclaimed Steven Edis and live piano accompaniment is provided by Johnathan Lee.
The musical showcases more than 20 songs and scenes from shows including Private Lives and Blithe Spirit, two of Coward’s best works.
Paying tribute to two of the best-loved performers of this century Noel and gertie takes a well-orchestrated trip down memory lane.
Scenes from Private Lives, Still Life and Blithe Spirit and snippets of timeless songs such as Dance Little Lady and, of course I’ll See You Again, make it a show set to entrance.
The nature of the production allows for an intimate setting which encourages the audience to pick up every smirk, grimace and subtly raised eyebrow.
But the cast of just two can also hold their own on a big stage.
The production featured as part of the 75th Anniversary season of Frinton Summer Theatre 2014 where it met with rave reviews.
Devised by the writer, theatre critic and broadcaster Sheridan Morley, Noel and Gertie was first performed on the West End at the Comedy Theatre, where it starred Patricia Hodge and Simon Cadell.
It was later revived at the Duke of York with Edward Petherbridge and Susan Hampshire in the lead roles.
Noel and Gertie, Howden Park Centre, Howden, Livingston, Sunday, 2pm, £15, 01506-777 666