A Marvelous Party: The Noel Coward Celebration | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

A Marvelous Party: The Noel Coward Celebration 

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Not even Anna Lauris's showstopper--she single-handedly performs an entire operetta--can salvage this uninspired assemblage of dated novelty songs by playwright-songwriter-bon vivant Noel Coward. A coproduction with Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York, A Marvelous Party offers only disconnected epigrams and a pastiche of 30s tuxedo-movie moments involving elegant tipsiness (The Thin Man) and sinuous dancing (Flying Down to Rio). In David Ira Goldstein's staging, Lauris, Carl Danielsen, and Mark Anders try to conceal the material's weakness by mugging and indulging in overdone English accents. The nadir is Cole Porter's "Let's Do It" sung Coward-style, larded with topical allusions and shameless appeals to local pride ("The White Sox do it . . . "). This produced a standing ovation. Through 1/8: Tue-Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 3 and 8 PM, Sun 12/18, 2:30 PM, Wed 12/21, 1 and 7:30 PM, no show Sat 12/24, Northlight Theatre, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, 847-673-6300, $34-$56.

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