Grand Opera House, Belfast
28 May – 1 June 2013
Reviewed by Elaine Donaghy
On Thursday 30th May I went to the Grand Opera House, Belfast accompanied by my best friend to watch High Society. We're both keen musical fans and having grown up watching the film version of High Society, we were very excited to see the stage version for the first time. Our seats were fantastic, in the centre of the Stalls so we settled down with a glass of wine to watch the drama unfold before us.
The story is set around the very wealthy Lord family where the eldest daughter Tracy (played by Sophie Bould) is about to marry for the second time but her dashing ex-husband Dexter Haven (played by Michael Praed) turns up the day before the wedding in a bid to win her back. He is accompanied by journalist Mike Connor and photographer Liz Imbrie (played by Daniel Boys and Alex Young) from Spymagazine who are aiming to expose an embarassing Lord family secret. In an unexpected twist, Connor falls in love with Tracy and she's left with a dilemma over which man to choose!
The performance from the supporting cast members was energetic from the start and all the hit songs such as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, True Love and Well Did You Evah were performed with aplomb. The character Uncle Willie (played by Teddy Kempner) absolutely stole the show with lots of laughs each time he took to the stage and Alex Young played Liz Imbrie with effortless comic timing as well as impeccable dance moves. However, we were a little disappointed with the lack of chemistry displayed between Tracy and Dexter with Michael Praed looking uncomfortable in many scenes, especially where singing and dancing were involved. The scenes leading up to the interval were a little flat and unfortunately, when we returned for the second act, there were several empty seats around us where some patrons had decided not to return!
The Grand Opera House is a fantastic traditional theatre venue with a long history and since its refurbishment and extension opened in 2006, it has become a much more composite venue, seamlessly combining the opulent grandeur of the 19th century with the elegant minimalism of the 21st century. The staff at the GOH all seemed to be very friendly and helpful, ushering audience members to their seats before the curtain rose and assisting with any enquiries we had about our seats.
On the whole, it was an entertaining evening out but admittedly, not the best quality performance I’ve ever seen. However, having picked up a brochure for the forthcoming season of shows, we're planning another visit back to the GOH very soon.
High Society is currently on tour, for tour dates or to book tickets visit www.highsocietymusical.com