Sunday 24 July 2011, Sadler’s Wells, Lillian Baylis Studio Theatre
review by Emma Shane
© August 2011
What a crazy way to spend Sunday, watching a delightfully silly Lost Musical, excellently performed by the Discovering Lost Musicals gang.
It must be over a dozen years now since the glory days at The Barbican, and sometimes during that intervening time, particularly since the shows found their new home at The Wells I’ve too often thought “Its not like it was at Barbican” and then wondered if I was remembering those halcyon days through a rose tint. However at the end of last year the triumphant performance of Darling Of The Day at The National Portrait Gallery (when after a nine year gap a shining jewel in their crown made a terrific welcome return) was very definitely up there with the best of them and seems to have raised the level all round, for the 2011 season seems to me to be well up to the standard we used to have in the old days, and this the third and final production of the season, performance wise, is up there with the best of them. For a start, like many of the best Lost Musicals, the cast includes three members of what I like to call The Magic Quintet; so with Louise Gold, Stewart Permutt, and, Myra Sands to set the performance standard, it had to be good.
The performance starts as usual with the cast entering and taking their seats at the back of the stage. At 5ft9” Louise Gold is the tallest of the women. She is wearing a striking elegant black sleeveless evening dress which seems to have sequins on it that sparkle. All the women of course wear black, and all the men are in black suits, but Louise is one of those Lost Musicals leads who has occasionally been known to vary the costuming a little in the past. On her feet she wears black low heeled court shoes (so no danger of falling off high heels this time, unlike in Dubarry Was A Lady). Her only jewellery is a chunky silver bracelet on her clever left wrist. (No sparkling earrings this time). Her curly chestnut hair though not looking quite as wild as it can do, reaches very nearly to her broad shoulders in a becoming way, with a style distinctively her, that has hardly changed (except sometimes in length) since her Muppet Show days. Her sparkling brown eyes dart all over the place, paying attention to everything going on.
Ian Marshall-Fisher starts the afternoon off in the customary way by doing one of his usual pre-show talks, except that this time there were two little differences, firstly he asked the audience some trivia questions, which a clever Scottish man knew some of the answers to, and an American could knew most of the others. Secondly while setting the context he mentioned that the writers of this show, Herbert and Dorothy Fields, along with Cole Porter, had at that time recently collaborated on Something For The Boys, which as he rightly mentioned had previously been part of this series. He then added that “Louise was in it” promptly getting a loud vocal response from that performer. I suspect he would have been in danger of having her do something to try and upstage him if he had not mentioned the Lost Musicals’s very own answer to Ethel Merman at that point.
The show itself starts with the entire company on their feet singing the Opening Prologue. This is effectively the show’s title song, with lyrics about “we’re going for a hayride”. I couldn’t help feeling that though satisfactory, Cole Porter has written more invigorating title songs, then for the final verse, Louise Gold who up until now had let her voice blend with the ensemble, elected to sing out a little, that livened things up a bit.
The first scene finds most of the company portraying spectators at a bull fight at A Bullring The Plaza De Toros Mexico. The dialogue is impressive at conjuring up the scene. We also have Michael Roberts as Joe Bascom, going by the name of Humphry Fish, edging his way through the crowd, which includes Jonathan Hansler as Lombo Compas, the Mexican manager of the American Female-Matadoor Montana (whom they are all supposedly watching). The fight ends with one of the crowd describing how some official (possibly master of ceremonies) has cut off the bull’s ear, and placing something inside it has handed the bull’s ear to Montana. Someone acting as a commentator explains that Montana is to throw the bulls ear, and whoever catches, an American, it is to be feted for a week as Mexico’s ‘Amigo Americano’.. Then, Louise Gold, who for the duration of this scene has been sitting quietly at the back of the stage, gets to her feet, and, magnificent stage presence turned on full, strides purposefully into the scene, just the way that magnificent performer so often did back in the old days at Barbican. Here she is miming holding a bulls ear in her clever left hand. Suddenly eyes alighting on Joe Bascom she mime’s throwing the thing at him. So now he is the Amigo Americano, which he doesn’t want to be. Montana didn’t want him to be it either; she was in fact supposed the throw the bull’s ear to the American Ambassador David Winthrop, but as she explains to him a little later as soon as she saw him “I had to throw something at you.” In fact she wants him to get out of town, it turns out he’s her no-good brother-in-law. The pair duet Hereafter. Although Cole Porter’s lyrics are reasonably good, as one might expect, and although Louise Gold sang to her usual standard, a duet such as this one is only as good as both singers in it, and unfortunately though Michael Roberts was not terrible, he was not really a good match for Louise Gold vocally. Over the years she has sung duets much more impressively with far better partners (in the Lost Musicals alone this includes: Desmond Barrit, Michael Fitzpatrick, Teddy Kempner, and, Neil McCaul. While elsewhere, her more impressive duet partners have included: Gregg Edelman, Henry Goodman, Andrew C Wadsworth, Matt Zimmerman, and of course Jerry Nelson). Nevertheless the song is satisfactory, particularly when the rest of the company join in.
Moving on, we have a scene in A Bedroom At The Hotel Reforma where Joe finds that the Mexicans, particularly the girls (including a Russian played by Alice Redmond), will not leave the Amigo Americano alone, even if he wants to be left alone. One of the slight difficulties of having a performer as magnificent as our leading lady in a show, is that the scenes that performer is not in can sometimes seem dull by comparison, with the result that one doesn’t always pay full attention to such scenes. Thus I can’t recall for sure if it was during this second scene, though it’s possible it might have been at this point, or soon after, that a lengthy dialogue takes place between Joe Bascom and Lombo Compas during which they hatch a plan to run a ‘Lucky Number Lottery’. This has its origins in a Lottery Boy, played by Nik Gibney selling tickets for Mexico’s official National Lottery, which is government run and anyone buying a ticket gets allocated a number at random. Joe suggests that a lottery where people could choose their own numbers would be a better idea, and urges Lombo to start one, basically as a kind of a racket. He also suggests that they should declare Joe Bascom the winner (remember at this point Joe is going under the name of Humphrey Fish, and Lombo doesn’t know who he really is). They need $40,000 to start the scheme. Lombo has the $10,000 that was in Joe Bascom’s wallet which has been found and which he is currently holding on to for safe-keeping thinking it to be Lost Property. Joe eggs Lombo into borrowing the other $30,000 from Montana, without her knowing about it. As her agent Lombo handles her investments. A rather telling line about agents here, which should be a warning to all performing artists, beware agents can and will rip you off, if you don’t keep a very close eye on how they are handling your affairs.
More interesting in an entertainment sense, because it involves the majority of The Company is the third scene, which takes place in The Bar At Ciro’s. We have Sing To Me Guitar sung by Lolita the bar singer, played by Wendy Ferguson. This while entirely satisfactory, after all she was trained at The Guildhall, somehow lacked sparkle that Valda Aviks gave it some ten years ago in A Lost Musicals Occasion. A dialogue between Montana and David Winthrop finds Montana apologising for having thrown the bull’s ear at someone other than him. She is clearly smitten with him, and suggests they go for dinner together, so she could “apologise some more”. Louise Gold has a flair for delivering comic dialogue from musical comedies of this era. She clearly has a feel for the material, and Ian Marshall-Fisher knows just how to direct her to get the best out of her. However, they are districted by the arrival of Joe Bascom and entourage, which means that David, played by an almost unrecognisable versatile Graham Bickley has to lead The Company in The Good Will Moment. He sings well, as one might expect, but what really makes this number is that all the women in the company, and that includes Louise Gold, are dancing in it, with choreography by Ewan Jones. Interestingly in this number it is the Lost Musicals stalwarts Myra Sands and Louise Gold who stand out here. It’s clear Myra originally trained as a dancer; while Louise as ever a testimony to the Arts Educational School, moves with a grace almost unchanged since her days of performing Muppet Monsters on The Muppet Show.
Moving on to The Merced Market, we find four of the men sitting cross-legged on the floor, with their backs to the audience, being market traders. What is rather less clear is exactly why so many of the company wander into the market. First of all we have Tilly Leeds, a buyer from one of the big American stores, looking for a supplier of Mexican Jewellery, only to find that all the traders already have contracts to supply rival stores. I think it was here that a Lottery Girl played by Helen Kelly wandered in selling tickets for a new ‘Lucky Number’ Lottery. For reasons that are not entirely clear David and Montana both wander into the market. David is currently trying to get some information about the owner of the lost wallet that was handed in at the bullring, namely Joe Bascom, whom he has discovered may be a fugative from justice, he was awaiting some photographic information on that (information which is taking time to get hold of, because several states in the US have also been requesting it). It is clear that David is pretty smitten with the feisty female bull-fighter, as he promptly sings to her I Love You, a sweet Cole Porter ballad, which of course Graham Bickley sings beautifully. However Montana at this point seems to be rather more concerned about the ramifications (by association) for Joe Bascom’s family, much to David’s puzzlement; however as an audience we know why.
We come to one of those scenes that probably typifies musicals prior to Oklahoma! This being a ‘Concert Staging’ without scenery one can’t tell for sure. However, the scene takes place in ‘An Outdoor Corridor Of The National Palace’, and it seems likely this could be one of those scenes where a girl comes out and sings a song in front of the drapes so that the set could be changed. In this particular case our leading lady (musicals of this era often did give this sort of task to the leading lady) Montana, with the catchiest song in the entire show There Must Be Someone For Me. Musically this song does not appear to be exactly one of Cole Porter’s best (despite being his most tuneful in the entire score), and that is not helped by the fact that in places it seems to have something of a fast tempo, and thus is not the best of musical matches for Louise Gold’s voice (especially if she is on the verge of laughing). However, it is a very funny song, lyrically it is in a similar vain to Let’s Do It Let’s Fall In Love, and to some extent Can Can. It is the lyrics and Louise Gold’s rather delightful performance of acting out all the creatures named in the lyrics. I wonder how much of her interpretation was down to Ewan Jones and Ian Marshall-Fisher, and how much of it was the performer herself. Louise is after all particularly skilled at using her body very much as a tool for performance, a tool that has seen her play a fox on stage in a musical, as well as puppeteering everything from pigs and penguins to rats and termites. Indeed to illustrate the rat lyric in this song Louise used her clever left-hand to represent a rat’s face, perhaps rather like she would when puppeteering one (for example Iris or Roxanne on Roland Rat’s BBC TV series). Musically the song might not suit Louise too well vocally, but there is no doubt that few performers could act this song out anywhere like as terrifically well as the English Muppet did in this performance.
The final scene of the first act takes place on the Terrace Of The Palace At Chepultepec. First up we have Lolita leading the company with a song called Carlotta; which Wendy Ferguson did perfectly well, except for the fact that the song’s positioning in the show is rather awkward, given that it comes a bit soon after that rather memorable There Must Be Someone For Me. Michael Roberts has rather better luck with his big number, which practically closes the act, Girls, which he performs backed by most of the girls in the company. To be sure it is his best moment in the entire show, not least because it’s the only piece where he doesn’t go too over the top for the scene. As for the scene itself, well it certainly advances the plot. As Joe Bascom’s wife Lillian, played by Lana Green, turns up, and tries to claim Joe’s prize money on his behalf. Of course Lillian also meets up with her sister Montana, whom she greets as “Mary, Baby”. I couldn’t help wondering whether the greeting might have been a subtle reference on the part of the Fieldses, to the fact that as a child in vaudeville June Havoc (the original Montana) had been billed as ‘Baby June’. The chief of police, played by Stewart Permutt, goes to arrest both Lombo and Joe over the lottery racket, but as a crowd of girls part, the audience sees that Joe has conveniently hidden himself between Lolita’s legs, rather to her surprise. Meanwhile Montana is equally startled to learn that she too is implicated in the lottery scandal because Lombo used her money. While David finally understands why Montana was concerned about Joe Bascom’s family, after all she is his estranged sister-in-law. Thus Act 1 concludes with so many threads unravelling that one can’t help but wonder what is left for Act 2. The plot does not appear to have anywhere to go.
Act 2 opens on a boat, the programme says the setting is Xochimilco (Boat Scene), and finds the entire company singing a fairy catchy rather tuneful number, which seems to very much sum up this production of this show What A Crazy Way To Spend Sunday. All of the company sing with great verve and enthusiasm, which is probably aided by the welcome inclusion of a leading lady who always sings with such gusto.
It soon becomes apparent that Joe and Lombo have skipped out of town, and are now on the run, adopting a variety of disguises. We find them here disguised as a pair of Marimba players, or some such kind of musician. Here Musical Director Michael Haslam becomes rather more a part of the action, than just that of playing the piano. First off, during the What A Crazy Way To Spend Sunday, there is a moment, when for one verse, he stops playing and instead conducts the performers to sing a cappella. Now, rising from his piano stool he gets a line to deliver to the fugitives, about them not being convincing (which was somewhat shades of Jason Carr’s contributions to this season’s first production The Band Wagon); then Michael Haslam promptly disappears off stage for a few minutes, soon returning with his accordion, with which he proceeds to accompany Lombo and Joe. Quite a performance. Michael Haslam is only the third British musical director I have come across who definitely can play the accordion, and only the second one I have actually seen do so; the other being Jason Carr, twice (and one of those occasions Jason was standing in for Dan Jackson).
We soon find that both Montana and David are also out of town, looking for the fugitives. Or rather Montana is looking for Joe, partly because she wants to bring him in herself and partly because she thinks she is the most likely person to see through whatever disguise he is now using. It is not quite clear whether David is after the fugitive Joe, or really just after Montana herself. Events soon prove that Montana isn’t as good as she thinks she is at recognising Joe, she almost completely fails to recognise Joe and Lombo as the “musicians”, in fact it is David who realises who they are. A little later, Joe is creeping around, while Montana and David and in a dialogue, where Montana is trying to convince David to let her look for Joe, she jokes to David that she is hiding Joe under her skirt, little does she know that at that precise moment Joe is hiding practically under her skirt. This scene was very funny, and rather well acted out by Michael Roberts, Louise Gold, and, Graham Bickley. In fact with Louise involved it put me in mind or a couple of previous Cole Porter Lost Musicals, notably the time she was “on a witness stand” in Red Hot & Blue, and the scene in DuBarry Was A Lady when the poet in and under Mme Dubarry’s bed.
The next scene takes place at A Gas Station On The Passo De La Reforma, and is pretty much dominated by our magnificent Leading Lady. On reaching the Gas Station she exclaims that she is thankful to find “a Gas Station staffed by Red Indians”. She is trying to hire a car (she seems to think this will help her to search for Joe and Lombo). But first, for some inexplicable reason, which seems to be basically an excuse for a song, she has to teach the Red Indians about love, Abracadabra. This is an amusing song, and Louise manages to sing it out a bit, which makes things work better. There was also something about Louise’s manner in this song, perhaps the way she was interacting with the “boys” (as Montana calls the Red Indians), which reminded me of Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby in Jason Carr’s musical of The Water Babies. I would presume that slight similarity was unintentional on Louise’s part, nevertheless it is nice to be reminded of that lovely character.
David catches up with Montana at the Gas Station, and tries to get her to return to the city, he is not going to have her messing about out here, besides which he is evidently somewhat suspicious of her, despite still fancying here. However, she manages to give him the slip via getting him to sing a reprise of I Love You, during which she departs, and he doesn’t notice till he finishes the song. Though Graham Bickley sings well and commands the audiences attention to some extent, nevertheless we can’t help but notice what Montana is up to. After all Louise Gold has such a great stage presence.
Meanwhile Joe and Lobo are now disguising themselves as a couple of Red Indian Tortilla sellers (Joe as a female and Lobo as the husband). Augustus Jnr, played by Richard Linnell comes across them, and decides to buy a tortilla. Joe recognises Augustus Jnr as a boy who annoyed him sometime earlier in The Bar At Ciro’s, well boys will be boys. Now Joe decides to get his very message revenge, using elements of his tortilla making kit. This comic scene certainly tests the miming skills of the three actors involved, as this being a Lost Musicals Concert Staging there are, thankfully, no props. Having dealt with that irritation, the fugitives next find themselves confronted by Montana, who initially doesn’t recognise them. She really isn’t as good at finding them as she thought she would be. This Red Indian couple seem somewhat down in the dumps, so Montana decides to cheer both them and herself up with a song, Count Your Blessings. The humour of this song is very dark, a reminder perhaps that by this point in his career, although Cole Porter was still turning out many great songs, he was crippled and in a great deal of pain himself from a riding accident seven years earlier. The gist of the song is basically that if things look bleak now, cheer up life will soon be over and then whatever the problem was won’t matter anyway. Perhaps basically life is too short to worry about trivialities. Today’s three performers (Louise Gold, Michael Roberts, and, Jonathan Hansler), do it with great gusto, as one would expect with a number commanded by Louise. So much so that one begins to wonder why this song isn’t better known. perhaps people found it’s humour too dark? Well with these three performers to put it across so well one can’t help but enjoy it. As the number comes to an end, David turns up, and tries to drag Montana away. Just then she realises there is something odd about the “papoose” which the female Red Indian is carrying on its back. She goes to inspect it, realises the thing is in fact a fake, and at that moment recognises Joe, and Lobo in disguise. So Montana does help David to find and catch the fugitives.
The finale scenes takes place on the Terrace of The Palace At Chepultepec, where, with the week up, Mexico says farewell to it’s Amigo Americano, who is to be returned to America under armed escort. Thus the show end with Joe finally facing justice. It’s not clear whether Montana and David end up getting each other, but the audience can imagine that presumably they do. Anyway this crazy musical ends with the company singing the finale and singing it very well. Then they take their bows, in order of precedence, with our leading lady being one of the two to bow last, as befits a leading lady. And so this crazy 1940s musical comes to a jolly end.
All in all while perhaps not an undiscovered jem, seeing this long forgotten musical is an enjoyable crazy way to spend Sunday afternoon. The book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields seems to be typical of the kind of nonsensical light-hearted entertaining musical comedy of that era;, though I am not quite sure what a reference to Anna Dym was doing in the middle of it all. It was generally fun and amusing, especially as performed by such a high standard cast as this afternoons. The songs by Cole Porter are decidedly not his best. Most of them are very little known, and that is perhaps understandable. Nevertheless they are by no means bad, they are entirely suitable for the piece, and of course this afternoon they are very well performed by an excellent cast, which just happens to include my all time favourite performer of Cole Porter songs, although she has sung Cole Porter songs in Lost Musicals in the past that have been better vehicles for showing off her extraordinary talents, this afternoon’s score was nevertheless jolly good fun, and some of Cole Porter’s lyrics at least were up to his usual standard. Musically I did not think the score one of Porter’s best, but that may have been in part due to the talents of the show’s original performers, such as June Havoc, that he was writing for. After all that is not quite the same as writing for say Ethel Merman. Nevertheless Michael Haslam does a good job playing the piano, and surprises us with his accordion. Ewan Jones’s staging of the dance routines is excellent, and of course Ian Marshall-Fisher’s direction is up to his usual high standard. The best thing about this production is that its casting is generally very good indeed, everyone seems to be giving of their best, putting the standard of performance in this show up there with the best Lost Musicals productions, despite the piece itself being simply fun and entertaining rather than a particularly good musical. The musical may not be a gem, but the casting shines bright. For a start, like many of the very best Lost Musicals productions it includes three of what I like to call the ‘Magic Quintet’, so obviously it couldn’t help but be good. Between them Louise Gold, Stewart Permutt, and, Myra Sands set a high standard, which most of the others just can’t help but try to attain.
The ensemble players of: Sophie Angelson, David Anthony, Jennifer Burman, Nic Gibney, Helen Kelly, and Alex Scott Fairley are all generally reasonably good. The weakest of these being Helen Kelly (though given her training that is no surprise) and fortunately Ian Marshall-Fisher seems to have made sensible use of her. Of these half a dozen Sophie Angelson stands out as actually being quite good, it might be interesting to see her in future Lost Musicals.
Another half a dozen seem to be a step up from the ensemble, playing very clearly defined bit parts, but still joining in the ensemble and taking on other roles where necessary. These include: Alice Redmond who is moderately memorable as a miscellaneous Russian girl, Lana Green in the all important role of Montana’s sister Lillian, plays her part with a good accent, but seems to be rather overshadowed by Louise Gold’s stage presence, but then she has probably never encountered anything quite like that before. I have noticed in the past that those who can cope best and not get too overshadowed tend to be performers who have already experienced that sort of thing. The other four of these six all have. Wendy Ferguson actually comes across better in this show than she did when I saw her in Oliver! Perhaps possible because Ian Marshall-Fisher has directed her more effectively. Richard Linnell has played in a Lost Musical before, two years ago he was in Johnny Johnson. This afternoon he comes across much more effectively than he did back then. Partly of course this is due to him having a much meatier part this time round. However it also helps that most of his scenes find him interacting with performers who aren’t too overawing, whereas two years ago in Johnny Johnson he found himself trying to share a stage with that production’s leading man, Max Gold, who certainly has a powerful stage presence, at least when it is turned on full. Two performers who would never be fazed by that sort of stage presence in a Lost Musical are those stalwarts Myra Sands and Stewart Permutt. Both have had plenty of experience of that sort of thing in previous Lost Musicals, including: Something For The Boys, Dubarry Was A Lady, and, Panama Hattie, among others. This afternoon both perform to their usual high standard, and generally help to raise the level of performance for the whole show. One newcomer to the Lost Musicals, who manages quite successfully to more or less meet that standard is Jonathan Hansler. By and large he contrives not to get too overshadowed by the others, including our leading lady, which given that judging by his resume he does not appear to have encountered anything quite like her unusual acting style before is no mean feat. He is clearly another of Ian Marshall-Fisher’s finds in terms of good male singer-actors. By contrast, among the principals Michael Roberts is the only weak spot in the show. This role does not seem to be quite as good a match for his talents as his part in Darling Of The Day was. And he is the only one of this afternoons performers who seems to take the comedy of his role just a little bit too far. It’s not terrible, but it’s the only one which could have been better. By contrast Graham Bickley is brilliant. Judging by his resume he has never actually been in a Discovering Lost Musicals production before, yet this afternoon he plays it like an old hand. His singing is beautiful though he is none too well served by Cole Porter’s score. His acting is sincerely excellent. He proves to be a versatile actor, for his characterisation so different from either of the other two roles I have seen him do (Billy Crocker in Anything Goes, and Torfeh in Ragtime), added to which he is full of confidence, and totally succeeds in standing up extremely well to Louise Gold. Perhaps his experiences nearly thirty years ago of singing appearing in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates Of Penzance at Drury Lane, helps here.
In the programme the Lost Musicals gives its grateful thanks to a variety of people and organisations, including The Unity Theatre Trust. However, The Unity Theatre Trust is not the only way in which the Discovering Lost Musicals have benefited a great deal over the years from the legacy of the legendary Unity Theatre, London. For this afternoon’s show has as its leading lady a Lost Musicals regular, who has been in these shows on and off for nearly twenty years (with a nine year gap), namely Louise Gold. A versatile performer, with a splendidly powerful singing voice and an uncanny knack for being able to get the best out of Cole Porter’s songs; She also possesses a strong presence of an unusual acting style which she appears to have inherited from a legendary stalwart Unity Theatre actress. For nine long years there seemed to be something missing from the Lost Musicals. Then last year, in Darling Of The Day, at The National Portrait Gallery, they finally got this missing element back in all her glory. However, Mexican Heyride is the first time we’ve had Louise in one of their show’s at The Wells. And strangely enough the one thing which stood out above all else about this show, is that of The Wells shows it is the production most like the good old days at Barbican Cinema 1. In terms of a part, Montana is not one of Louise’s great Lost Musicals triumphs, in the league of: Nails O ‘Reilly Duquesne, Blossom Hart, Hattie Maloney, May Daly/Mme Dubarry, Lorelei Lee, Lady Kay,Venus, or for that matter Alice Challice. However, she does of course act it jolly well. Although her part is that of leading lady, this is not one of those big dominate the show sort of leading lady roles. It is more one of being part of a team of performers who just happens to be the lead. Fortunately although with her magnificent stage presence Louise is very capable of doing the blaze through the show demolishing anything in her path kind of a lead, she is also capable (as she demonstrates today) of being a true team-player as one of the company performing the show, but the one who just happens to be performing the leading lady’s role. She also gets two of the best comic songs of the piece, the catchy There Must Be Someone For Me, which gives her some great opportunities for enlivening the proceedings with actions , very much using her whole body as a tool; and the darker comedy of Count Your Blessings, which she also makes the most of. The only real criticism I can make of her performance this afternoon is that there were moments when I got the distinct impression that she was on the verge of corpsing, which may have partly accounted for the fact that vocally there were some moments when I felt she did not always come across as strongly vocally as she can do. However that tendency to laugh at inopportune moments is such a part of her and in a light-hearted situation such as a Lost Musical it doesn’t matter too greatly. Musically Cole Porter’s score not give her the sort of opportunities for vocal acrobatics that some of the other Cole Porter roles have, and there were moments when I found myself thinking, it’s a shame she doesn’t get more of a chance to really sing out, because she has such a glorious belt voice. However, the English Muppet is a skilful comedy singer-actress and in this June Havoc role she proves that just because she is a magnificent brassy belter, she is quite capable of singing sweetly and playing a role that does not require her more Mermanesque abilities. All the same I’d love to see her tackle the next role that June Havoc did after this one, Sadie Thompson, given which Broadway star that originally written for, it might suit Ms Gold very well indeed If this afternoon’s performance is anything to go by a role that crosses June Havoc with Ethel Merman, might fit her like a glove. Anyway this afternoon it was just a shear joy to see her once again giving her time, talent and energy to the Lost Musicals, helping to raise the energy level and standard of performance, to being just exactly like it was back at the Barbican, proving that the Lost Musicals productions really are as good as ever, especially when she is one of the shining jewels in their crown.