Cowardy Custard (1984)

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Poster by Poster Designer

by Gerald Frow, Alan Strachan & Wendy Toye featuring the words & music of Noël Coward

Directed by Alan Buckman

Musical Director William Hedley

Performances: Sun 4th – Sat 10th November 1984, Bell Theatre


Performed by arrangement with Samuel French Ltd, Sponsored by Freeman's of London. Materials for set donated by New Regency Ltd.

Owing to the sudden indisposition of Kathy Barrett, there was a slight alteration to the programme.





The broad and diverse range of Noel Coward's talent to amuse is given full reign in "Cowardy Custard"....

It is the November offering of the SLTC... and it would be a gloomy soul indeed that failed to be uplifted by its lilting melodies and bubbling wit. The songs come so thick and fast that the two-hour traffic on the stage is in danger of getting into a jam.

This is the kind of show that the SLTC can be relied upon to tackle with gusto, and they do not disappoint us on this occasion. The cast of 12 are tightly directed by Alan Buckman, and the work of William Hedley and Stephen Watts is unobtrusive but wholly at the service of the music.

That Coward was the wittiest lyricist of his day scarcely needs stating. This is only one aspect of his talent, but it is given full value in this lively production. Best of all is the impeccable 'There are Bad Times Just Around The Corner', by a trio led by Alan Buckman himself.

Ann Mattey is a joy when telling us about that Marvellous Party and getting more smashed by the minute. Watch out for Eileen Bicaragui's (Eileen Coan) wickedly naughty Alice ('At It Again') and Maureen Chapman's cool Colonial.

Then of course we have those indispensable favourites, 'Mrs Worthington' and 'Stately Homes' and an ensemble rendition of Coward's wickedly funny verses to Cole Porter's 'Let's Do It'.

There is a boistrous London sequence in which we view the Master from a different angle, sentimental in 'London Pride', Harry Champion style in 'Mrs Brisket' and Cockney-celebratory at the 'Rose and Crown'.

The fragments of spoken autobiography are delivered not by one performer only, but by several in turn, the device serves only to emphasise the many-sidedness of this tireless servant of our popular theatre over several decades. I do urge all who appreciate his unique contribution not to miss this show.....

Donald Madgwick, The Croydon Advertiser (


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