Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: A Talent to Amuse: The Noël Coward Story

A musical stroll down memory lane to delight Noël Coward fans

A musical stroll down memory lane to delight Noël Coward fans

Presented by: Melanie Gall with Emma Knights Productions

Reviewed: 18 February, 2024

Melanie Gall has brought another great show to premiere at the Adelaide Fringe. A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of attending her knitting cabaret Stitch in Time where I was impressed by her voice and her storytelling skills, just as I was this time.

The Jade is a perfect venue for such a show and performer. It is a small venue and everyone is close to the stage which further draws the audience into Melanie’s delightful retelling of the fascinating history of Noël Coward.

A Talent to Amuseis another showcase for her wonderful talent plus the piano accompaniment of Bennett Paster. To the backdrop of a fascinating parade of pictures of Coward, his family and friends, Melanie gives us a potted biography of the great man, interspersed with just a few of his famous songs.

Noël Coward decided at a very young age that the theatre was where he belonged. He first appeared on stage at the tender age of 11 and we learn that after feeling not enough attention was being paid to him at auditions, Coward decided to write his own material. As well as plays, musicals, and revues he wrote 300 songs.

From such a vast collection, Melanie presents a cleverly chosen selection. She pairs one of Coward’s most famous songs Mrs Worthington with descriptions of his early-stage career and then uses the satirical song Don’t Let’s Be Beastly to the Germans, to underscore his fall inpopularity after WWII. The first post war production Pacific 1860 was a financial disaster and left Coward deeply in debt.

The only downside to the show was that it was over too quickly! I would have been happy to get another drink from the bar, then stay to listen to much, much more of Melanie Gall’s glorious singing and first-rate storytelling.

Reviewed by Jan Kershaw

Photo credit: supplied

Venue: The Jade
Season: Sun, 18 Feb – Wed, 21 Feb
Duration: 60 min
Tickets: $20 to $30

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