High Society

Date 10th October 2014
Society Bolsover Drama Group
Venue The Bolsover School, Bolsover
Type of Production Musical
Director Leanne Collins, Ray Hall, Mick Whitehouse
Musical Director Nigel Turner
Choreographer Leanne Collins


Author: Joyce Handbury

The stage musical High Society is based on the play The Philadelphia Story and the 1956 Cole Porter film starring Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly which incidentally was her last film before she became Princess Grace of Monaco. The story revolves around the wedding celebrations of socialite Tracy Lord, complicated by the arrival of her ex-husband Dexter, and a pair of undercover reporters trying to dig up dirt on the wealthy Lord family. It was a very brave decision by the group to undertake this seldom performed show particularly when you consider the numerous locations of scenes, including a mansion, a swimming pool and a tennis court all to be portrayed on a small school performing area. But, as I have seen on many occasions, they are brilliant at improvising using props etc. to great effect and this was certainly the case for this show. Michelle Simpson was very much the ‘lady’ in the lead role of Tracy Lord, her bright, bubbly and enthusiastic performance was splendid. The role of Dexter was played by her real-life fiance Dale Shaw. His performance was poised, relaxed and charming. Paul Holland was excellent as Uncle Willie making the most of the comedic elements of the role and lighting up the stage with his lustful, alcohol-fuelled, antics. Impressive performances were delivered by Julie Clifford and Istvan Koszegi as the two reporters and good support came from Peter Maddison as George, Judith Doram as Mother Lord and Ray Wignall as Seth Lord. Charlotte Blunt, in her first appearance with the adult section, was superb as the precocious younger sister of Tracy. The Staff and Guests were all great, I particularly liked the way the male staff, under the watchful eye of Ken Radmore, continued with their duties behind the main action, with such style. The choreography was simple but well executed and the tap routines were delightful. I musy just say though, that at times, there did seem to be some strange, discordant arrangements of the music. All the costumes were lovely and even the ‘extra stage crew’ were well turned-out. Effective lighting, imaginative sets with good props together with praiseworthy, enthusiastic principals and chorus members certainly gave us a glimpse of what ‘High Society’ was really like. Well done and congratulations to the production team and everyone involved.