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Performing Arts

May 12, 2015
 

What Is This Thing Called Love?

The cast of COLE – An Entertainment Based on The Words and Music of Cole Porter
Photo-AYUNTC

 

COLE – An Entertainment Based on The Words and Music of Cole Porter

Devised by Benny Green and Alan Strachan
Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Original Music Arrangements by Kenneth Moule
Directed by Gary Tipton and Sandy Richens Cohrs

Review by Craig Nolan Highley

Entire contents are copyright © 2015, Craig Nolan Highley. All rights reserved.

If you’re a fan of Cole Porter or classic Broadway show tunes, there’s a lot to like about the As Yet Unnamed Theater Company’s current production, an imaginatively staged revue encompassing dozens of the composer’s songs.

There is some attempt at narrative, as the performers recite some little tidbits about Porter’s life and career between the musical numbers, but really the show works best when the cast stops talking and starts singing, and there are some really great voices on display here.

Standout numbers include the amazing Jennifer Poliskie’s comic performance of “Mrs. Lowsborough-Goodby”, Daniel Smith’s soulful “Night and Day”, and Carrie and Jeff Ketterman’s duet on “I Get a Kick Out of You”. Carrie Chastain pretty much steals the show with “The Laziest Gal in Town” while Jeremy and Josh O’Brien show some great work with “I’m a Gigolo” and “You’ve Got That Thing”, respectively. And of course, the ensemble numbers are spectacular, particularly “Another Op’nin, Another Show”, “Anything Goes” and “What is This Thing Called Love”. My personal favorite of the evening was the guys in the cast performing Porter’s comic masterpiece, “Brush Up Your Shakespeare”. Great stuff.

The show does have some issues, such as probably being about 30 minutes too long; it has a tendency to drag during some of the less familiar tunes and narrative sections.  Occasionally the soloists were singing in rather quiet voices and I had some trouble hearing them over the piano.  But that was an infrequent occurrence, and the show’s high points more than make up for the lows.

On the technical side the simple staging worked nicely in the confines of The Mex Theater, with the only real scenery consisting of a large portrait of Cole Porter hanging on the back wall. Elaine Hackett’s lighting design nicely set the mood for the proceedings, and Cathy Ryan’s accompaniment on the piano was spot-on.

This really is another lovely production from one of the area’s longest-running theater groups. Musical theater buffs owe it to themselves to check it out.

Starring Carrie Chastain, Hannah Clore, Emily Grimany, Carrie Cooke Ketterman, Jeff Ketterman, Jeremy O’Brien, Josh O’Brien, Jennifer Poliskie, Richard Ryan, and Daniel Smith.

COLE – An Entertainment Based on The Words and Music of Cole Porter

May 8, 9, 15, 16, 2015 @ 8:00 p.m.
May 10 & 17, 2015 @ 2:30 p.m.

As Yet Unnamed Theatre Company
Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts
501 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40204
502-584-7777

 

Craig Head Shot

Craig Nolan Highley has been active in local theatre as an actor, director and producer for more than 12 years. He has worked with Bunbury Theater, Clarksville Little Theatre, Finnigan Productions, Louisville Repertory Company, Savage Rose Classical Theatre Co., and WhoDunnit Murder Mystery Theatre among others. He has been a member of the Wayward Actors Company since 2006, and currently serves as their Board President. Craig’s reviews have also appeared in TheatreLouisville and Louisville Mojo.  




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