A Talent to Amuse: The Noel Coward Story – [email protected] Hall, Edinburgh

Reviewer: Anna Ambelez

Writer: Melanie Gall

Composer/ Lyrics: Noel Coward

Internationally acclaimed singer Melanie Gall has a lifelong admiration of Noel Peirce Coward. She compiled this story in celebration of his life and accomplishments,  following his example and writing shows which she can perform in.

Gall goes through a resume of the multi-talented Cowards life, who had his stage debut at the age of 11 and in his 74 years never looked back. She relates numerous personal facts, apart from writing 65 plays and countless songs, of which sings 16, he was a poet, story writer, singer and employed by the Secret Service. Born in 1899 his private life was more guarded which is revealed in the biography his long-term partner, Graham Payne published after Coward’s death.

Gall’s strong voice does his songs credit with her enthusiasm coming through her performance. While the content is absorbing it appears to be delivered more like a lecture as she remains static behind the microphone throughout the show. In such an intimate space it invites a more personal contact with the audience, maybe occasionally moving from one side of the stage to another and addressing the odd comment to an audience member, making them feel more involved. An image of Coward would give her another area to direct comment, instead of addressing it all out front. It was very static.

Many performers wear black, which does highlight their face, unfortunately, the background is generally a black curtain so their visual presence on the stage is limited, a small splash of colour would not go amiss.

Terence Rattigan said Coward was…”…a phenomenon and one that is unlikely to occur ever again in theatre history, actor, director, dramatist, unrivalled…Coward is responsible for so many memorable sayings, it is fitting he should have the last word..” I’m an enormously talented man and there’s no use pretending that I’m not.”

His talent is well represented in this show and a must for any Coward fan.

Runs until 27 August 2022

The Reviews Hub Score

Entertainingly informative.

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The Reviews Hub - Scotland

The Scotland team is under the editorship of Lauren Humphreys. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.

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