I went to see “Darling, It’s Noel”, a production at His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth, about Noel Coward’s visit to Australia in November 1940.
Darling, It’s Noel teams up two great Australian talents, Amanda Muggleton and Dennis Olsen, in an evening of witty songs and repartee as only Coward could produce. Writer/director Rodney Fisher has used Coward’s visit to Australia, during which he raised more than 12 thousand pounds for the Red Cross, as the basis for this comic evening. The Australian Government of the time lauded Coward as their guest (although he’d paid his own way) and crowds of people gathered to see and hear him. Famous for his risque plays and double-entendre wit, not to mention his sage advice (“don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington”), he was a man who could raise a laugh with ease.
The production told us a little about his war time efforts, including some specific references to performances in Perth, but was probably nothing more than a vehicle for his wonderful songs. Amanda Muggleton’s performance of “Mad About The Boy” was truly moving, while Dennis Olsen played Coward as a more homespun character than the sophisticate of his witty repartee would suggest.
We were given, however, little sense of Coward the poof which is implicit in so much of his work. It was clearly, therefore, aimed at the “Morning Melodies” market – on one side I had a man who fell asleep within 10 minutes and on the other a blind mind who was given descriptions of what was occuring – and I was clearly the youngest person in the theatre.