Nice Moments, No Draw
The Arts Club Theate Company presents Cole Porter's High Society at the Stanley Industial stage until June 24th.
Porter based the musical on the play Philadelphia and included a number of songs from other his previous scores. He was famous for his musical talent as well as his extravagant and luxurious parties- and both are prominent in this play. High Society features the famous 'Let's Misbehave' and the touching romantic tune ''True Love' as well as a hilariously cynical 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?'
The story takes place at the Lord family's mansion where Tracy Lord, a gregarious socialite, is trying to decide who to marry among her three suitors: her fiancé, her ex-husband and a reporter who has come to cover the wedding. All this on the eve of her 'big day'.
Meanwhile, the other characters are also having affairs or at least trying to - so that the play showcases love in its many forms and a person's search for 'the one'. One of the shortcomings in this script is that it's obvious from the beginning who will end up with who.
The music and the general experience of the play was light and fun, but I wanted more heart, soul and spontenaity. In this production the acting style is quite presentational and the first act felt especially pushed.
What I liked was Norman Browning's Uncle Willie- he was funny, relaxed and easy to watch. Lauren Bowler's characterization of Liz Imbrie, as the cynical journalist is specific and captivating. Young Briget Esler is delightful as Dinah Lord and shines in the song and dance number 'I Love Paris'.
The set is beautiful and impressive as are the costumes and they help create the world of the 1930s. There are some nice moments in this prodution but overall it didn't draw me in.