Last night Paul and I went to see Streets at the Hackney Empire. After a previous run at the much smaller, more intimate Cockpit Theatre (which Paul saw, but I didn’t), yesterday saw just two performances in the Empire’s larger, proscenium arch space.
When we think of Noël Coward, we tend to think of the witty older gentleman who had built a reputation as playwright, songwriter and master of the well-turned epithet. We don’t tend to remember that he started out as a young child actor, during which period of his life he first met Gertrude Lawrence, the actress with whom he would come to work on numerous occasions and form a lifelong friendship.
The late drama critic and broadcaster Sheridan Morley constructed this revue of Coward’s work in the early 1980s, using the relationship between Coward and Lawrence to showcase some of the former’s songs and plays. The result is an evening of biting wit, poignancy and unbridled fun.