Mad about the Boys
The Hotel Hermitage was originally a more modest establishment than the Casino or the Hôtel de Paris, but in 1900 it was transformed into a luxurious residence for visitors. Its Salle Belle Epoque dining-room was the work of Gabriel Ferrier, winner of the Rome Prize and gold medalist at the Universal Exhibition of 1889. The frescoes recall paintings by Fragonard and Boucher.
On 10 October, the British Association of Monaco (see below) organized an evening in the Salle Belle Epoque. Dress code was appropriately black tie/1920s, and the dinner was excellent: a delicate seafood starter, perfectly cooked beef to follow and chocolate gateau of rare quality.
The show 'The Two Most Perfect Things' was a shortened 'dinner-theatre' version of a new, full-length play about the lives and works of Noël Coward and Ivor Novello - respectively, 'the Master' and 'the Governor.' The research that author, Adrian Fisher, has done demonstrates just how disparate their legacies actually are. While there exists a mountain of books about the life and works of Noël, as well as frequent productions of his works, Ivor, although probably the greater star during their lifetimes, has slipped quietly into semi-obscurity, with only a handful of old biographies to tell his story.
Noël Coward wrote: "We have much in common. We were both boy sopranos and both drink a lot of tea. We have both worked hard all our lives, and are fortunate, talented and successful. We are both reviled by the press and adored by the public, in addition to which we enjoy each other's company and have been close friends for well over a quarter of a century."
The show took us through the lives of Coward and Novello, their ups and downs, the scandals, the good times. We were transported back into a style and period (the 1920s, 30s and 40s) that some of us remember, but even if we don't, somehow we know those wonderful songs: A Room with a View, Glamorous Nights, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, I'll See you Again, Mad about the Boy, Poor Little Rich Girl, Mrs. Worthington, and so on and on. The cast put on a great show - excellent singing and acting, fast paced, energetic - they were obviously having a great time and so did we - absolutely, so did we.
Cast: Adrian Fisher (Writer/Director/Noël Coward), Stuart Barham (Musical Director/Narrator), Christopher Howel (Ivor Novello) Isabelle Roeland, Dianne Weller. Choreography: Tina Rodgers
The British Association of Monaco
There are many associations in Monaco but for English-speaking newcomers, one of the best is the British Association of Monaco (BAM). You make new friends, you get help and information on all the little things - a good dentist, where to get your hair cut - sometimes difficult in a new country - and you can attend any of the many events they organize.
The British Association of Monaco is a charity and so you even do good whilst having a good time. And when you've lived here for years, well, an event is an excuse to get together with old friends.