One Touch of Venus
A simple enough plot, yet it is the music (attractively provided by Mike Reed and Tansy Aked) and the wit of the lyrics that makes this piece the pleasure it is. And with these come a range of strong performances, notably from Gina Murray as the dragon fiancée, whose rendition of “Way Out West in Jersey” was show-stopping; Peter Land the distressingly slimy and very, very rich owner of the conservatoire des “beaux artes” (pronounced as you will); and Mark White, the immensely amusing villain/doctor/detective. I was also impressed by Kim Medcalf, whose Venus was bright and assured, belying her professional inexperience, albeit perhaps with a voice that might seem weak in a bigger space. And the somewhat cramped stage is possibly the main shortcoming of this production. Despite Nicola Treherne’s attractively directed choreography, it all seemed somewhat overwhelming at times, having twenty players on stage at once in the small space that is the King’s Head.
This is not the most subtle of productions, but that is not what this One Touch of Venus sets out to be – entertaining, amusing and fun it certainly is, and highlights the quality that can be found, produced on an unnecessarily frayed shoestring, if you just bother to travel a little way out of the West End. Long may it continue!
A round up of the press notices ....PETER HEPPLE for THE STAGE says, "One of its merits is that it contains genuinely funny comedy numbers, in which Mark White, in a variety of roles, particularly shines, making one realise how much this element is missed in most contemporary musicals." BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE for THE TIMES says, "Kurt Weill's One Touch of Venus has not aged well." CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "One Touch of Venus is a rare treat." PATRICK MARMION for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "This is one of those comedy gems that's got the lot: songs, gags and a hilariously wacky plot." He goes on to say, "Kurt Weill's music is packed with toe-tapping rhythms and Ogden Nash's lyrics teem with cheeky witticismsand brazen rhymes." THE SUNDAY TIMES says, "The show is cunningly poised between musical comedy and spoof musical, and the performance is likewise between coarse acting and spoof acting. " SHERIDAN MORLEY for TELETEXT says, "To describe One Touch Of Venus as waywardly and wilfully eccentric doesn't even begin to do it justice."
Links to full reviews from newspapers...