High Society ★★★★ The Mill at Sonning | Nov 29, 2023 - Jan 20, 2024

In 1940, Philip Barry's play, The Philadelphia Story, was made into an absolutely brilliant screwball comedy starring the inimitable Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart. In 1956, the musical version of the story with a score by Cole Porter was released as High Society. At that time a critique of the remake was that it didn't manage to capture the subtle blend of wit and sentiment that informed the original play and film. This latest version of the story includes more of the Porter songbook than was in the 1956 film of the same name, and lovers of the masterly songwriter will no doubt be delighted. The production numbers of such favourites as "Let's Misbehave," "I Love Paris" and "Let's Do It" are great fun. However, as with the original musical reworking of The Philadelphia Story the trade-off here is that the plot and character development get even shorter shrift. This is a show that one enjoys for its choreography, singing and the cast's great energy, but the sharp repartee and subtle development of character in the play are lost. The issues of class, superficial judgment and press intrusiveness all disappear in a vigorous celebration of Porter's music. One doesn't really care much if Tracy (Victoria Serra) learns to forgive her father, to accept her parents' reconciliation and to have some compassion for Dexter (Matt Blaker) her first husband and his alcohol addiction. Whether Mike (Matthew Jeans) the sleazy tabloid reporter overcomes his class preconceptions and recognises the humanity of his subjects is irrelevant. We just want to get on to more singing and dancing by the talented cast. At this time of year, The Mill at Sonning always delivers an entertaining show plus a lovely Christmas meal. This homage to one of America's greatest songwriter's is a terrific seasonal outing.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Andreas Lambis

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When, Where, Getting there:
  • Nov 29, 2023 - Jan 20, 2024
  • Evenings: Tue - Sat 8:15 pm. Restaurant open and serving dinner from 6:15 pm - 8 pm
  • Matinees: Sat 2:15 pm. Restaurant open and serving lunch from 12:15 pm - 2 pm; Sun 3 pm from Dec 3
  • No matinees: Dec 24 & Dec 31
  • The Mill at Sonning
  • Nearest station: Reading
  • https://millatsonning.com/shows/high-society/

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