Theatre Review: High Society – Old Vic

Summary [from the Old Vic website]:

You’re invited to the wedding of the year, and what a swell party it’s going to be! Cole Porter’s classic feel-good musical, High Society comes to The Old Vic in a glittering new production staged in the round. 

Long Island socialite Tracy Lord is planning her lavish summer wedding when her ex-husband appears to try and win her back. His unwelcome arrival threatens to disrupt proceedings. When tabloid reporter Mike Connor arrives to cover the nuptials, he too takes a shine to the bride-to-be. But which of these three suitors will she choose?
As the final show in Kevin Spacey’s eleven year tenure as the Artistic Director of the Old Vic, he really couldn’t have picked anything better to go out with a bang. From the moment that Joe Stilgoe sat down at the silver grand piano and “noticed” the audience (giving us five minutes of sheer joy while the house lights were still up) to the glittering (and I do mean glittering, there was a positive rain of the stuff) finale, it was an utter joy to be a part of.
Kate Fleetwood was … well, wonderful just doesn’t cut it. She was mesmerising, playing Tracy with a sensitivity that made the brash moments brilliant and the human moments achingly real. I will also never forget her impression of a squirrel and am having to fight the urge not to attempt to reproduce it every time someone gives me a disapproving look.
However it was not Kate who stole the show for me. That honour goes to Rupert Young because I seriously was not expecting that voice and those dance moves from the man who I know best as Sir Leon, most steadfast and loyal of Prince Arthur’s knights. He was electric as Tracey’s ex-husband Dexter and when he started to sing True Love I barely made it through the first three words before I started tearing up. He was utterly glorious and I might just be a little bit in love with him.
That said, my infatuation didn’t mean that I didn’t pay attention to anyone else; Ellie Bamber, who played Tracy’s younger sister, Dinah, was brilliant (and she’s got a scream you’re not going to forget in a hurry) as was Annabel Scholey as Liz, plus I really loved Ricky Butt as Mavis and Barbara Flynn as Tracy’s mother, too.
It’s a glorious show, staged to perfection with a brilliant cast who set the songs alight. It’s on until 22 August, you can book tickets here, and I really hope you’re able to!

Kate Fleetwood and Rupert Young as Tracey Lord and CK Dexter Haven 

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