Britain’s best-loved cabaret artists Dillie Keane (Fascinating Aïda) and Kit and the Widow join forces to salute Sir Noël Coward and his ‘talent to amuse’, in the first major revisiting of this famous revue, commencing a UK tour at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre on Tuesday 5 April 2011 (see full list below). National Press night Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Guildford Monday 11 April.
With more than 40 of Coward’s brilliant songs, including Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage Mrs Worthington, A Room with a View, Mad about the Boy, The Stately Homes of England, I’ve Been to a Marvellous Party, London Pride and Mad Dogs and Englishmen, the revue also contains unpublished material, excerpts from Coward’s diaries and autobiographies, and scenes from Tonight at 8:30, Present Laughter and Design for Living.
The show stars Olivier Award-nominated actress, singer and comedienne Dillie Keane, best known as the lead member of Fascinating Aïda and frequent contributor to BBC’s Grumpy Old Women, and the UK’s leading society cabaret act Kit and The Widow, with two of the West End’s fastest rising young performers Stuart Neal (La Cage Aux Folles, Lord of the Rings) and Savannah Stevenson (Gone with the Wind, Aspects of Love).
It is directed by Paul Foster, with musical staging by Stewart Nicholls and design by 2009’s Linbury Prize winner Samal Blak (Graham Vick’s Othello).
This affectionate tribute has been revisited and revised by Alan Strachan, who with Gerald Frow and Wendy Toye created the original after the seventieth birthday of ‘The Master’ in 1970. It had a triumphant first night at the Mermaid Theatre in 1972 and ran for over a year.
Cowardy Custard tells the story of Coward’s life through song and biographical writings. Sir Noël himself proposed the title, good-naturedly rejecting suggestions such as Carry on Coward, Cream of Coward (“That would be asking for trouble”) or This Is Noel Coward (“Too near This Was Noel Coward”), before suggesting the title that stuck: Cowardy Custard.