This is a swell party all right: and it’s Sophie Bould’s show. As divorcee socialite Tracy Lord, Bould is at the centre of the action and the talented heart of the performance.
She has a soft but powerful voice that glides delightfully over the live orchestra, bringing to life beautifully the heroine of the piece: uptight and acerbic at the start; glitteringly drunken as she mournfully sings It’s All Right With Me towards the show’s denouement.
Michael Praed partners her well as ex-husband Dexter Haven, but he doesn’t quite pull off the debonair charm that the role demands: he has the looks and mostly has the voice, but his starchy blazer suppresses the twinkle a little too much.
Alex Young and Daniel Boys are a charming double-act as the invading paparazzi. Their rendition of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is one of the highlights of the first half. Young’s delectable playfulness shows up later too, this time alongside the exuberant Teddy Kempner as Uncle Willie.
The whole ensemble pulls out the stops in the second half, with the bright and joyous Let’s Misbehave and Well, Did You Evah? winding their way throughout the action, which itself span around Francis O’Connor’s inventive set. This is smart and witty production design that always helps advance the story and never once gets in the way of it.
Michael Haslam’s orchestra and Anna Linstrum’s directions make the most of Cole Porter’s music and lyrics.
You might not leave a millionaire, but you will be a lot richer.