“Lady Be Good”

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London • 4 August 2007 • 2:30pm
Music by George Gershwin. Lyrics by Ira Gershwin. Book by Guy Bolton & Fred Thompson.

Director: Ian Talbot. Musical Director: Catherine Jayes. With Chris Ellis-Stanton (Dick Trevor), Kate Nelson (Susie Trevor), Norman Bowman (Jack Robinson), Hattie Ladbury (Josephine Vanderwater), Charlotte Warren (Daisy Parke), Giles Taylor (Bertie Bassett), Paul Grunert (Watty Watkins), Rachel Jerram (Shirley Vernon), Thomas Padden (Manuel Estrada), Steve Watts (Rufus Parke)…

The gods of scheduling have been good to me: right after The Drowsy Chaperone, they allowed me to see the very kind of show that Drowsy pays tribute to. The 1924 Lady Be Good boasted a score by George & Ira Gershwin and a cast led by Fred & Adele Astaire. It is the quintessential 1920s musical: fun and light-hearted. The score of Lady Be Good may be an early effort by the Gershwin brothers, but it already contains much of what made their songs so unique.

The setup of the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park doesn’t allow for elaborate set changes or for a large orchestra. But the charming score, the energetic cast and a respectful staging which doesn’t resort too much to a defiant second degree combine to make the experience highly enjoyable.

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