James McConnel & Kit-Hesketh-Harvey

Quick, clever and very funny, with a dash of nostalgia: Kit & McConnel open Plymouth Words and Music Festival

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When a Cabaret Duo gets to perform at a private function in Clarence House in front of members of the Royal Family, it must really be something special.

Kit & McConnel undoubtedly proved their right-royal appointment with a performance certainly fit for a Queen – and who just happened to be in the audience at that London gig earlier – when they gave the opening concert in this year’s Words and Music Festival, organised by Plymouth University’s Peninsula Arts, and devoted to the spirit of the Roaring Twenties.

Entitled Noel Coward and His Legacy, vocalist Kit Hesketh-Harvey with partner in rhyme, James McConnel at the piano, paid homage to ‘The Master’ with a non-stop musical biopic performing many of Coward’s most enduring songs, as well as some lesser-known ones, all infused with witty anecdotes and chat, as well as one or two of the pair’s own equally-amusing offerings.

Their opening gambit – a quick nod in the direction of the week’s General Election result – got things off to a flying start, and from then on it was wall-to-wall comedy and entertainment, but not without a dash of nostalgia here and there, particularly in the quieter, more contemplative numbers.

Delivered with such slickness that cleverly suggested on-the-hoof improvisation, rather than clearly well-studied rehearsal, this must surely rank as one of the funniest and most enjoyable evenings ever on the university campus.

 

PHILIP R BUTTALL