Original London Cast

Noël and Gertie [Original London Cast]

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In April 1981, Noël Coward biographer Sheridan Morley "devised" an "entertainment" called Noël and Gertie as a benefit for the Combined Theatrical Charities Council, and it was performed at the May Fair Theatre in London, England. It was a musical revue constructed out of songs and excerpts from the writings of Coward, some of which, in their initial presentation, had been performed by him with actress/singer Gertrude Lawrence. A commercial production of the revue ran for a month in London in 1983, and the third mounting, at the Donmar Warehouse (in the London equivalent of off-Broadway), for another month in 1986 with Lewis Fiander as Noël and Patricia Hodge as Gertie. That production was recorded for this cast album. It is a small undertaking, just Fiander and Hodge and a piano, and consists mostly of Coward's songs, although there are portions of his London Times obituary of Lawrence, and the tenth track, the cockney music hall romp "Has Anybody Seen Our Ship?," includes some of the dialogue for the Red Peppers playlet in which the song appeared, as part of the play cycle Tonight at 8:30, in which Coward and Lawrence co-starred in 1936. (There is also a bit of Shadow Play, another playlet in the cycle.) Fiander and Hodge are actually better singers, technically, than Coward and Lawrence were, and they bring enthusiasm to such Coward favorites as "Mrs. Worthington" and "Parisian Pierrot."

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