Last Saturday, we went to see the always excellent Southend Shakespeare Company's version of Noel Coward's Cowardy Custard. A few weeks ago, we saw Coward's Hay Fever by the SSC as well and it was such a pleasure!
For this show, the SSC have stretched their skills to the limit: it is not every actor who can sing! But the cast really gave their best - the fast pace meant that they really needed a lot of energy! - the pianist delivered a seamless performance (she played every single song!), and it was a truly lovely evening full of charm and wit.
I usually avoid musicals like the plague, but this was Noel Coward, and yes, there were loads of songs, but the lyrics were so wonderfully clever, and the actors were really good, so I was fine. No, really!
I own a copy of the first edition (1976, Jonathan Cape) of Cole Lesley's biography of Noel Coward: "The Life of Noel Coward".
I still haven't read it, shame on me!
And I purchased a copy of Cowardy Custard in October this year in one of my favourite shops in Bridport, Wild and Homeless Books on South Street. This is also a first edition (1973) and used to be owned by John A. Birch, organist at Chichester cathedral (read his orbituary HERE). When he died, the bookshop bought his book collection. And I have one of them!
It contains all the songs and spoken sections of the show, and is lavishly illustrated with black and white pictures, sketches, paintings... It's a wonderful volume indeed!
I think therefore I write.
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