Programme for Cole Porter's musical Nymph Errant

Programme for Cole Porter's musical Nymph Errant

Cole Porter’s Nymph Errant opened at the Manchester Opera House in 1933 and the crowds were so huge that special police had to be drafted in to control them. The audience included Noël Coward and Douglas Fairbanks Jnr, with whom Gertrude Lawrence was having an affair at the time. The show, based on a book by James Laver, a curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum, traced the heroine’s travels around the world while trying to lose her virginity. Gertie appeared in four of the shows six long scenes and closed the show exhorting everyone to ‘Experiment’ with life. Perhaps because the episodic nature of the plot made it more of a revue than a musical, reviews of the show were cautious. But no one had any doubts about Lawrence’s performance or that of Elisabeth Welch, who stopped the show with her rendering of Solomon. Their captivating performances can still be heard on recordings made at the time.