An Evening with Noel Coward
Reviewed by David Kashimba

Pacific Alliance Stage Company in Rohnert Park is currently presenting An Evening with Noel Coward, starring Craig Jessup as Coward with musical direction and accompaniment by Barry Lloyd. The multitalented Coward was an actor, playwright, composer and novelist. Best known for his cutting English humor in his plays Hay Fever, Blithe Spirit and Private Lives, he also acted in Broadway plays and Hollywood films. A very flamboyant and outspoken man aware of lifeís ironies, he also had a softer side. Even when audiences laugh at some of the absurdly comic characters in his plays, they canít help sense that as much as he made fun of these characters, they were often based on people dear to his heart.

In An Evening with Noel Coward Jessup explores all sides of Coward by having him sing some of the songs he composed. Though many of the songs are full of the wit and humor of his plays, songs like I Travel Alone show that isolation can often be an outgrowth of creative talent. Unique people are often lonely people. But Cowardís creative energy is what sustained him through the best and worst times. Jessup does an excellent job of maintaining Cowardís high energy as he sings his songs and tells his life story. Barry Lloydís accompaniment on the piano is inspiring, especially in the second act.

This is a must see for Coward fans, but itís also educational and full of fine entertainment for audiences not familiar with Coward. For tickets or more information call (707) 588-3400.

After seeing An Evening with Noel Coward why not make it a double header and reserve tickets for the Noel Coward play Hay Fever now playing at the Ross Valley Players, (415) 456-9555.

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