Truly great music makes you want to sing. It fills the heart with joy as once thought forgotten lyrics flood back into memory.
Cole Porter, the musical mastermind behind much-loved musicals Kiss Me Kate and Anything Goes, and with a string of hits from “Night and Day” to “You’re the Top,” is paid tribute to in The Australian Shakespeare Company’s A Picnic with Cole Porter.
Held in the lush Rippon Lea Estate Gardens, the sophisticated venue sets the tone of the evening as champagne corks pop and the tinkling ivories evoke the sensibilities of a vintage picnic.
Porter’s classic (of which there are many) “Delovely” opens the show as a four part harmony before each of the performers (Sally Bourne, Wendy Stapleton, Andrew Dunne and Alex Rathergeber) take turns in wooing the audience with Porter’s cheeky lyrics and irresistible melodies.
Joined on stage by accompanist and musical director Mark Jones, the one-man band fills the stage with a single piano as if it were a 50-strong orchestra.
As “Delovely” as the first act was, after the sun had set the performers returned, exploring the richness of Porter’s ballads and more risqué tunes. From “Misbehaving” and “Falling in Love” to the hilarious Dunne in “Brush up your Shakespeare” the incredibly talented cast hammed it up in a manner that would make Porter smile.
Careful selections of Porter’s ballads, most notably, Stapleton’s “Love for Sale” and Rathergeber’s “True Love,” were outstanding renditions, as was Bourne’s “Blow Gabriel Blow.”
What was most wonderful to see was the genuine appreciation and camaraderie amongst the performers. Theatre veterans and local heroes alike, the four-strong cast were a joy to watch and Porter’s music as always a pleasure to hear.
A Picnic with Cole Porter is a trip down memory lane, a cheeky visit into the early 20th Century and such good fun you will be humming a Cole Porter ditty for days.
The Australian Shakespeare Company Presents
A Picnic with Cole Porter
Musical Director Mark Jones
Venue: Rippon Lea Estate | 192 Hotham Street, Melbourne
Dates: 25 Feb – 7 March 2013
Tickets: $45 – $40
Bookings: www.shakespeareaustralia.com.au | 03 8675 7511