Anything Goes - A Tribute to Cole Porter

The music of Cole Porter has always had a kind of mutability and magic to it. A highly successful songwriter for the Broadway stage in the twenties and thirties, Porter’s music has sustained its popularity even to today. Despite the fact that much of his work would be at home played by a fifteen piece jazz orchestra, Porter wrote music simply and elegantly, allowing for small bands to perform it with intimacy.

Pam Lawson and her band have taken the latter approach, and have put together a show which does well to show a good range of Porter’s material. Comprised of keyboard, trombone, double bass, drums and vocals, the band covers most of Porter’s most famous songs, while continually mixing up the tempo and keeping the setlist interesting. Classics like ‘De-lovely’, ‘Let’s Do It’, and ‘Night and Day’ are well adapted.

Lawson’s vocals are very fitting for the songs, some of which sound very similar to the seminal Ella Fitzgerald recordings, such as on the show’s title track, ‘Anything Goes’. At times she could be a bit pitchy, but for the most part sang very nicely. Although the rest of the band seemed, at times, rather uninterested, or at the very least unimaginative. Their solos were rather slurred or quiet and didn’t add much to the songs.

Citing trouble with whittling down the original thirty song setlist, the show’s title, Anything Goes, is a reference to how the show is put together as well as the title to one of Porter’s classics. As she couldn’t bear to cut so much material from the show, many of Porter’s songs are placed into hats for audience members to choose from at random at specific points during the show. This is a rather charming idea that gives the show a sense of uniqueness every night - yet it was only used twice. So much of Porter’s material is familiar to everyone that such an element of surprise could have been a great element if it had been better utilised.

Outside of Lawson, the music seemed sleepy and, at times, messy. This is potentially down to their needing to learn a thirty song set list for a twelve song show. Yet through it all, there is sense that Porter’s music retains an unmistakable charm and elegance. Lawson does well to not try and over-complicate her show instrumentally and let Porter’s simple songwriting do the work, although the tribute would do better with a little bit of creative help from her band.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

Join Pam and her four-piece band to celebrate Cole Porter's genius. With songs such as It's De-Lovely, Let's Do It and You're The Top. It'll be Too Darn Hot! **** (ThreeWeeks).

Most Popular See More

The Mousetrap

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets