The Union Theatre in Southwark is one of my favourite off-West End venues, and I was excited to see they were putting on a lesser-known Noël Coward work, Ace of Clubs. The theatre was transformed into a cabaret club for the duration, a move which really added to the atmosphere and the experience.
The story tells of singer Pinkie Leroy, who along with her new sailor boyfriend ends up unintentionally getting hold of a stolen necklace. Will they be able to avoid the criminals and enjoy a happy-ever-after ending?
The show isn’t one of Coward’s greatest, though there are some enjoyable songs, particularly those sung by the chorus as part of the cabaret. The biggest problem for me was the sound. The lead singers in particular were very quiet, which rather spoilt the atmosphere. Even in this very small space, I had to really concentrate to work out what was being spoken or sung, which I don’t think is acceptable. Lucy May Barker stood out, however, as Baby Belgrave, as did Michael Hobbs as club MC Felix Felton. I also liked the dancing – an important factor in a show like this, and something that made it all the more enjoyable.