‘Lady Be Good’ made this lady feel good!
Last night I was treated to the Savoy Opera Society’s main term show ‘Lady Be Good’, music and book by George and Ira Gershwin, directed by Monte Marché. It was the perfect start to my weekend. I was giggling and singing the songs all the way home!
The plot follows the misadventures of brother and sister Dick Trevor (Tom Chippendale) and Susie Trevor (Jenny Collins) after becoming destitute on the streets of New York. Their struggle to turn their fortunes around leads to false marriage proposals to the rich and glamorous Josephine Vanderwater (Sarah Vanderplank), falling onto the wrong side of the law via the misguidance of the mischievous lawyer Watty Watkins (Will Davidson) and a run in with Mexican gangsters, lead by the serial murderess Manuela Estrada (Tasha Crossley).
Some of the racial jokes in the script felt a little problematic; however, ‘Lady Be Good’ is a product of its time and has many other elements that must be celebrated. This all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza of a show is one of the trippiest things I have seen on campus! The standard farcical love plot was punctuated with a few bizarre numbers including a yodelling number that had no apparent context, but this was all part of the play’s charm and my friends and I were crying with laughter!
A special shout out has to go to Stage Manager Jess Brown, who transformed Jane Holloway Hall into prohibition New York with an excellent use of a notoriously difficult performance space. The placing of gold drapes and fairy lights gave the Hall the facelift it needed to suggest the sparkles and glamour of the show. The costumes were particularly good: the 1920’s flapper girl dresses and sharp-suited men demonstrated the period and were vibrant and fun.
The cast performed with energy and exuberance and the camaraderie within the ensemble was palpable. Jenny Collins as the lead, Susie Trevor, stood out in particular: a fantastic leading lady who could act, sing and dance. The combination of her tireless energy, skill and likability made her a pleasure to watch. Tom Chippendale as her lovable rogue brother, Dick Trevor, was also an excellent and charming leading man and the pair’s relationship was well developed and the audience was on their side from the very first scene.
Will Davidson as the anti-hero, Watty Watkins, displayed exceptional comic timing and the moments when he, Collins and Chippendale played off each other as they became embroiled in lies and deceit were some of the highlights of the show. Sarah Vanderplank embodied the spoilt diva Josephine Vanderwater and commanded the stage with charisma. Vanderplank and Davidson were a fantastic comedy double act and their physical and vocal deliveries were on point.
The real star of all Savoy shows is the music. Musical Director Robbie Caprari-Sharpe led a live band that was a beating-pulse behind Gershwin’s classic. The whole cast handled their singing solos with expertise and the harmonies of the ensemble numbers were delightful.
Monte Marché has once again directed a Savoy show that is a heart-warming success! Well done to the cast and crew for creating an eccentric and hilarious show.
Make sure you catch ‘Lady Be Good’ this weekend, on until 20 November at Jane Holloway Hall if you want a feel good musical that will brighten your November!
Non Students £6
Tickets available via the SU website or pay on the door in cash.
By Victoria Bastable