Review: Pass the Porter, Sewerby Hall and Gardens

Cast of Pass the Porter outside Sewerby Hall
Cast of Pass the Porter outside Sewerby Hall

Setting and song in perfect harmony was at work in this tribute to American composer and lyricist Cole Porter.

What an elegant, swell-egant party it was – with the cast dressed up to the nines in 1930s attire and taking the audience on a tour of Sewerby Hall.

Although some of the house dates from earlier than the 1900s, it made for a fitting setting for a musical soiree featuring songs by the dapper Porter.

He belonged to the US upper-set, born to money, married to money and used to the finer things in life.

The cast act out defining moments of the songwriter’s life. These included a glimpse of his university days, his marriage to Linda, flirtation with men and the riding accident which left his body – if not his spirit – broken.

For the first 20-minutes the cast lead guests through the house – not all the rooms – singing various tunes building up to the all-singing finale in the Orangery.

This was more about the man’s music than the man and the difficulty must have been what to leave out. Cole was a prodigious producer of songs.

He wrote the musicals Kiss Me Kate, Anything Goes High Society, Can-Can and Silk Stockings with hardly a duff tune in any of them.

What else could a Cole Porter evening start with but Another Openin’ Another Show – from Kiss Me Kate? There followed I Get A Kick Out of You, Begin the Beguine, an up tempo Miss Otis Regrets, What A Swell Party and an a-capella Night and Day.

There was more – Love For Sale, You’re the Top, It’s De-lovely, Anything Goes and Blow Gabriel Blow.

In a lovely conceit, the closing number, of course, was Every Time We Say Goodbye.

The show is part of Bridlington Soa summer repertory season and features the same cast as Fables and Fairtyales at the Spa.

That is Samuel Dunn, Cameron Leigh, Sarah Francis, Andrea Miller, Dale Page, Alan Richardson and Freya Tiller.

They were accompanied by Alex Weatherill, who devised the show.

Pass the Porter is at Sewerby every Tuesday and Friday until September 4 at 5pm and 6.45pm. It is at Burton Constable Hall, near Skirlaugh, on Saturday August 8, 15, 22, 29 and September 5, at 5pm and 6.45pm. Fables and Fairytales is at the Spa, Bridlington, each Wednesday and Thursday until September 3.

Review by Sue Wilkinson