Oh Coward!

Oh-CowardOriginal Off-Broadway Cast, 1972 (Bell/no CD) 4 Stars (4 / 5) After appearing in Noël Coward’s last musical, The Girl Who Came to Supper, Roderick Cook compiled a revue of Coward’s songs that was first produced as Noël Coward’s Sweet Potato, a quick Broadway flop in 1968. Cook tried subsequent assemblages of Coward material in different cities with different titles, and finally returned to New York with Oh Coward! The revue enjoyed a successful Off-Broadway run. Coward’s songs — and excerpts from his verse, plays, and memoirs, which serve as linking narration — are delightfully entertaining as presented here. No one ever wrote comic songs like this fellow; he chose his words with specificity, using them with precision and a demented logic. When Coward turned serious, his work was almost as impressive, if not so unique. He is well served in Oh Coward! by the layout of the material (roughly according to subject), and also by the three-member cast: Cook and comic actress Barbara Cason are very effective, and Jamie Ross is an only slightly weaker link. — David Wolf