A show like Marvelous Party, however, hopes to recall more than music. Coward represented a special era and a unique kind of celebrity. A world traveler, he wrote songs that, through lyrics as immaculately shaped as lead crystal, offered vicarious tours of the globe's exotic ports and naughty parts. He celebrated British sophistication as he mocked it, with songs that managed to make fun of everyone, as in the convoluted anti-Nazi tune "Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans."
Everything about this production -– save the aforementioned lighting choice -– is spot on. The Playhouse proscenium arch has been given ornate splendor, with potted plants that change between acts. Similarly, costumes for the performers, band and even stage crew get an interval upgrade from music hall wear to concert hall evening clothes. Credit, too, to David Edwards as sound sentinel, and the three-piece band who, although they have are local, blend right in, not only playing the music but supplying sound effects for every comic turn and take. It earns Sir Noël's lyrics, "a marvelous party, I must say the fun was intense ... And I couldn't have liked it more."
CREDITS: words and music by Noël Coward, devised by David Ira Goldstein, Garl Danielsen, Mark Anders, Patricia Wilcox, and Anna Lewis, directed by Mr. Goldstein, musical arrangements and direction by Mr. Danielsen, choreography by Ms. Wilcox, Bill Forrester, set; David Kay Mickelsen, costumes; Todd Hensley, lights; David Edwards, sound; Vernon Willet, stage manager
With Mssrs. Anders and Danielsen and Ms. Lauris, supported by pianist John Randall, bassist Jim Dell, and percussionist Jeremy Reinbolt.
West Coast premiere • Laguna Playhouse • November 14-December 17, 2006