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REVIEW: Cowardy, Cowardy Custard

Review by Markus Hamence – Performance date: Thursday 16 May 2024, Holden Street Theatres, South Australia

When you think of Noël Coward, the words wit, charm, and sophistication undoubtedly come to mind. Holden Street Theatres’ latest production, ‘Cowardy, Cowardy Custard’, captures the essence of Coward’s genius, delivering a delightful evening of music, laughter, and sheer theatrical joy.

Thursday night’s performance of the show at Adelaide’s popular and tried and true theatre venue in the heart of Hindmarsh was sold out.

Adelaide’s theatre community is a familiar social outing, it’s always a joy catching up with friends and making new ones in this venue. The vibe of this theatre is always warm and welcoming and above all inclusive. Congratulations to all involved in making a long continued success of this grand building fitting for quality arts and entertainment.

The audience that attended this said performance are avid lovers of good theatre (myself included)… GREAT theatre is what we received.

Adelaide’s loved theatre venue – Holden Street Theatres

A Tribute to Noël Coward

‘Cowardy, Cowardy Custard’ is a musical revue celebrating the works of Noël Coward, the master playwright, composer, and actor. The production included two of Coward’s work ‘Red Pepper’ and ‘Hands Aross The Sea’ they both presented a glimpse into the vibrant tapestry of Coward’s prolific career. Directed by our beloved state theatre treasure, Peter Goers, with a keen eye for detail and an evident love for Coward’s work, this production is a fitting homage to one of the 20th century’s most influential figures in theatre.

Stellar Performances

The cast of ‘Cowardy, Cowardy Custard’ is nothing short of spectacular. Each performer brings their own unique flair to the stage, capturing the quick wit and sophisticated humor that are hallmarks of Coward’s style. The ensemble cast works seamlessly together, their chemistry evident in every scene.

Red Peppers:

Lead Performers: Geoff Revell (George Pepper) and Martha Lott (Lily Ppper) are particularly impressive, showcasing remarkable versatility as they shift between various characters and scenes. Their comedic timing and vocal prowess are noteworthy, making the musical numbers especially enjoyable.

Supporting Cast: The supporting cast members are equally talented, each bringing depth and nuance to their roles. Christopher Cordeaux, David O’Brien, Brian Wellington and Rebecca Kemp keep up with the constant shenanigans of the lead characters effortlessly. Whether delivering a poignant monologue or a hilarious sketch, they ensure there is never a dull moment.

Hands Across The Sea:

Lead Performers: Oh my goodness, they were all leads in part two of the evening. The entire cast had sensational and equal moment to shine and delight. Again Geoff Revell (Mr Wadhurst) and Martha Lott (Lady Maureen Gilpin) dazzled, and I’m going to call it, gave me vibes and the energy of Hyacinth and Richard Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances. Hilarity. John Doherty, Helen Geofferys, David Arcidiaco, Rebecca Kemp, Christopher Cordeaux and Milly Bollen each amazing and served many treat through the 45 minute(ish) piece. From cardboard tubes, telephone cords and damn slippery sofas, everything drew great laughter from us humble punters. Bravo to ALL!

Direction and Production

The direction of ‘Cowardy, Cowardy Custard is sharp and insightful and sublime. Peter Goers has managed to strike a balance between the lighthearted and the poignant, allowing Coward’s wit to shine while also honoring the more reflective moments of his work. The pacing is brisk, keeping the audience engaged from start to finish. I actually think this man is a gem in the Adelaide world of theatre and I am constantly in awe of what he achieves on stage. He’s definitely come a long way from being the ‘Reviewer’ banned entry into the Julian Clary show way back in the 1990’s haha.

  • Set Design: The set design is elegantly simple, allowing the performers to take center stage. Clever use of props and minimalistic backgrounds effectively evoke the various settings without overwhelming the audience.
  • Costumes: The costumes are period-appropriate and add to the overall charm of the production. Each outfit is meticulously designed to reflect the era and the characters, enhancing the authenticity of the performance. Said costumes collated by Martha Lott, Peter Goers, Judith Banford and Jana Davies.

A Must-See Show

‘Cowardy, Cowardy Custard’ at Holden Street Theatres is a must-see for fans of Noël Coward and anyone who appreciates brilliant theatre. The production is a testament to the enduring appeal of Coward’s work, brought to life by a talented cast and creative team. It’s a joyous celebration of wit, music, and theatrical excellence that will leave you smiling long after the final curtain call.

So, grab your tickets and prepare to be thoroughly entertained. ‘Cowardy, Cowardy Custard’ is a delightful romp through the world of Noël Coward that you won’t want to miss.

Cowardy, Cowardy Custard
14 May – 1 June 2024
Holden Street Theatre
Tickets here!

Hands Across The Sea – Helen Geoffreys, Rebecca Kemp and Martha Lott
Red Peppers – Brian Wellington, Geoff Revell and Martha Lott
Actor Martha Lott
Director Peter Goers
The iconic artist Noel Coward
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