A salute to the great Coward

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CABARET stars Dillie Keane (Fascinating Aïda) and Kit And The Widow join forces to salute Noël Coward in the first major revisiting of the Noel Coward compilation revue Cowardy Custard.

It’s the first time casting approval has been given - no small compliment to those now staging it.

For Dillie, part of the pleasure is working with Kit And The Widow again: “I don’t know how it came about. I just got a call. I said ‘Can I have a moment to think about it?’ and then instantly said yes.

“It’s a chance for me to put my brain on hold and earn a living without having to go down to the rock face (of song-writing). And it’s a chance to work with two people that I really like; what reason is there to say no!”

There is also the fact that it is Coward, by whom Dillie counts herself “immensely influenced”: “I am ruder and a lot tougher and I am a bit more satirical. He was also a playwright and a far greater artist than I should ever be. But I learnt such a lot from him, about the structure and the rhyme of a song - and about the correctness. It’s the way that he balances a song and put its together very correctly. His rhymes and his structure are fantastic.”

The show brings together more than 40 of Coward’s 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The revue also contains unpublished material, excerpts from Coward’s diaries and autobiographies, and scenes from Tonight at 8:30, Present Laughter and Design For Living.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 tribute has been revisited and revised by Alan Strachan, who with Gerald Frow and Wendy Toye created the original after the 70th birthday of The Master in 1970. It had a triumphant first night at the Mermaid Theatre in 1972 and ran for over a year.

The tour includes: April 5-11, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford (01483 440000); May 3–7,

Connaught Theatre, Worthing (01903 206206); and May 23 and 24, Kings Theatre, Southsea (02392 828282).