Review: Here And Now – The Songs of Noël Coward
Noël Coward is a man many people have heard of, but perhaps know little about. “Here and Now” is an hour of Noël Coward, as performed by Robert Green and accompanied by Alexander Sussman.
Both “Coward virgins” (Green’s name for those new to Coward’s music) and those with plenty of Coward experience are welcome in this lovingly crafted tribute to “The Master”, so named because of his many talents.
Robert Green takes the Butterfly Club’s stage with aplomb, weaving Coward’s music with amusing anecdotes and stories. A lawyer by trade, Green credits Coward’s way with words for helping him in his career. He is clearly passionate about Coward, and this passion infuses his performance. Despite the lack of air-conditioning in the small Butterfly Club theatre on an extremely warm evening, Green is decked out in a three piece suit and stays energetic and on point throughout the performance. The night we were there, a few rowdy audience members had to be shushed by staff repeatedly – but Green doesn’t skip a beat.
From songs that everyone at least knows of (“Mad About A Boy”), to jolly, witty classics such as “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” and “Nina”, to Coward’s most controversial songs, “Don’t Let’s Be Beastly to the Germans”, Here And Now is a tight, well-rehearsed performance that does credit to performer Robert Green, pianist Alexander Sussman and of course, the Master, Noël Coward.
The show is just over an hour long, and is a fine example of cabaret – short enough to keep you wanting more, and long enough that you have time to enjoy Green and Sussman’s performance and Coward’s wit. The show isn’t all Coward, however. Green brings back the refrain of “The Stately Homes of England” to great effect, as well as changing the lyrics of “I Went To A Marvellous Party” to have a bit of a laugh at Australian politicians and wider pop culture. Green hits one or two flat notes during the hour, but these are overshadowed by his style and verve onstage.
Here And Now is a brilliant example of a tribute show done right – a polished, joyful celebration of the Master’s life and work everyone should see.