The Ivor Novello Story (by arrangement with Samuel French Ltd)

Ivor Novello: glamorous stage and screen star, author and matinee idol is mostly known today as a glorious melodic theatrical composer. The majority of his famous numbers are soaring female ballads, therefore compilation concerts tend to feel a little monotonous and this production fell into a similar trap. Fortunately this concert has wonderful singing, carefully balanced placement of voices and, although Novello himself isn't a singer, the addition of a male voice gives more variety. It also has excellent articulation and every lyric is heard, even if the lyricists are uncredited.

This piece is a wonderful opportunity to hear Novello's songs sung extremely well in a live setting. It’s a thoroughly entertaining afternoon.

An informative, yet possibly overly detailed narration by John Cairney, enlighten the audience with facts about Novello's life, and even if it seems to dwell too much on his short prison sentence and skimps on his collaborative and personal relationships, it is carefully interwoven with songs. However, the use of the song Goodbye-ee is a little odd, as Novello didn't write it.

The female vocals are undertaken by Daisy Henderson, and a sparkly Elizabeth McCormack, who both have an operetta style that fit the Novello style perfectly. The main narration, spoken by James Dinsmore, is elegantly executed in a stylish manner.

Piano accompaniment by Bill Kean is assured and underpinned the piece excellently. Although some firmer buttons on numbers and a little more rubato here and there would add a little more theatricality.

This piece is a wonderful opportunity to hear Novello's songs sung extremely well in a live setting. It’s a thoroughly entertaining afternoon.

Reviews by Gordon Noele

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The Blurb

Ivor Novello was a man of the theatre above all else, and a musician of real worth, brilliantly capturing the ease and diffident charm of the world between the wars. The songs he wrote are certainly not forgotten. In this wonderful script by John Cairney, Ivor Novello's story and songs are brought to life by an actor, two singers and a pianist. Prepare yourself for nostalgia, romance and showbiz glamour, and a homeward journey humming tunes you thought you'd forgotten!

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