By Jessica Leafe
The classic musical based on the play The Philadelphia Story by Philip Barry, High Society is brought to vivid and wonderful life by Hayes Theatre Company in Potts Point.
Amy Lehpamer stars as Tracy Lord, with an ensemble of exceptional performers under the direction of Helen Dallimore, who has recently returned to directing after performing internationally. The story of moral facades and trivial vices that surround the upcoming new marriage in a wealthy Philadelphia family, is complete with music by Cole Porter and the production’s talented cast and creatives.
The show is wonderful from start to finish, all through its moments of hilarity and occasional sweet sombreness. From the comic joy of the butler and maid duo, Chester and Mavis (Phillip Lowe and Michelle Barr) to the calmly ironic presence of C.K. Dexter Haven (played with vocal honey by Bert Labonté) and the beautifully sensitive comedy from Virginia Gay as Liz Imbrie, the performances are stellar and full. Amongst the Helpmann Award winners, nominees and other well-known faces is newcomer Jessica Whitfield, a recent graduate whose performance as younger sister Dinah is an outburst of ridiculous hilarity.
The intimacy of the Hayes Theatre suits the familial setting of this classic, bringing the audience closely into the house and grounds of the Lord family. The show is supported by fluid and evocatively simple production design, with Lucetta Stapleton getting the period onto the stage with her costume design. Behind the backdrop for the majority of the show, band members Daryl Wallis, Ed Goyer, Ross Harrington and Dave Manuel set the show to Cole Porter’s timeless music.
Guaranteed to have you smiling in delight throughout the show. High Society is playing at Hayes Theatre until October 3rd, and is thoroughly recommended. You can book tickets here.
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