West End star Mark Inscoe has more fizz than a Gordons and tonic, more bubbles than a glass of Moët and more velvet than a chocolate caramel.
His easy cabaret style and soaring, expansive vocal range is heard to the full in his Brighton Fringe exploration of the words and music of queer musical icons Noel Coward and Cole Porter.
Accompanied with great style and sensitivity at the keyboard by Joshua Mills , Mark opens his 60 minutes with a declaration that “ Brighton is Brighton no more “ alluding to its racy past but also to the full stop which the virus has caused in our socialising.
Coward and Porter were contemporaries and friendly rivals , often parodying one another’s songs and shows. Both had a passion for travel and both lived in Paris for a time so we got musical tributes to that city in You Don’t Know Paree and There’s Always Something Fishy About The French. Mark’s style is jaunty and effortless and he soars with ease up and down his vocal range.
There are many classics to enjoy – Let’s Do It – with Mark adding a final verse “ Let’s do it: Let’s isolate “. While Coward found love a torment , Porter had many male lovers – some befriended by his wife too. Coward said: I’m no good at love .. the bitterness of the last goodbye is the bitterness that wins”.
Porter seems more at ease and able to put his illegal and secret love into a musical code we can now decipher. And the outcomes were truly great so we get Night and Day in Mark’s deepest richest tomes, easily gliding into his higher register.
While Coward paid homage to London in his war-time emotional patriotism of London Pride, Porter is equally sentimental in I Happen to Like New York. And both men excelled in creating eccentric women characters – the delightfully louche widow Mrs Wentworth Brewster and Nina from Argentina – and we’re introduced to both of them.
And in this musical travelogue we journey far and wide -though Coward stingingly snipes : “ why do the wrong people travel, when the right people stay at home? “
Hard to believe that the show is almost over but there’s time for a gem from Kiss Me Kate , and Every Time We Say Goodbye , Anything Goes and the outrageous I’ve Been to a Marvellous Party – some of it moved to Brighton.
It’s a great breath of fresh musical theatre air and you can catch The World at the Oil Shed in the Warren on 2, 3 and 6 June. Chin chin. Tickets and info here: