Comedy show dedicated to Noël Coward featuring BBC presenter Helen McDermott returning to Norfolk and Suffolk

Annette Jude, on piano, and Helen McDermott and Adrian Wright who are in Cowards in the Wings. Picture: BILL SMITH Annette Jude, on piano, and Helen McDermott and Adrian Wright who are in Cowards in the Wings. Picture: BILL SMITH

Sophie Wyllie sophie.wyllie@archant.co.uk
Monday, April 21, 2014
7:00 AM

A comedy based on the works of Noël Coward will be returning to Norfolk from London’s West End.

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Noel Coward.Noel Coward.

Cowards in the Wings, featuring television and radio presenter Helen McDermott, will be kicking off its spring/summer 2014 tour across Norfolk and Suffolk at Sheringham Little Theatre on May 3. It finishes at St Edmund’s Hall, Southwold, on July 4.

The musical show was wrtten by Adrian Wright and includes piano music by Annette Jude and narration from John Knowles, all from Norfolk.

It was first shown last year and the cast were invited by the International Noël Coward Society to put on a performance at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, in December.

Former Anglia Television newsreader Ms McDermott, 60, from Norwich, said: “Putting on the show in front of the society was wonderful but terrifying because it was for people who knew everything about Noël Coward. It was an honour to go Drury Lane.”

The performance was done in the Grand Saloon of the West End theatre.

She added: “For me being part of the show has been a huge eye-opener. I knew Noël Coward did a big a variety of work but he did things that were quite amazing. In this particular show we do some work that some people have never heard before. It has been marvellous to bring it to the stage.

“My biggest problem is remembering words and Noel Cowards words are so clever. It makes you appreciate how clever he was.”

Ms McDermott, who presents on BBC Radio Norfolk, said it was nice going back to her theatrical roots.

She trained as a ballet dancer and her grandparents were also Music Hall stars in London - her grandmother’s stage name was Nina Vester.

“I have always loved the theatre,” she added.

Ms McDermott started her musical partnership with Mr Wright, president of the Norfolk and Norwich Operatic Society, after watching him perform at Norwich Theatre Royal three years ago.

Narrator Mr Knowles, secretary of the International Noel Coward Society, said: “I was very surprised how well the show did last year. It is a very British show with a lot of tongue and cheek. It includes a lot of witticisms of Noël Coward.”

Pianist Miss Jude, a former matron of Kelling, Wells and Cromer hospitals, said: “We have fun together. I’m looking forward to the next bout.”

Noël Coward died in 1973 and was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance.

The show will also be on at the Halesworth Cut on May 9; Beccles Public Hall on May 11; Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal on May 18; New Buckenham Village Hall on May 26; Lowestoft Seagull Theatre on May 31; and the Gorleston Cliff Hotel on June 27.

For more information about the show visit www.mustclosesaturday.co.uk.

Are you putting on an interesting production? Email sophie.wyllie@archant.co.uk.

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