WHEN cabaret entertainer John Michael Swinbank was asked what part Noel Coward would play in his show he replied: ''A harp backed up by St Peter's orchestra.'' The gaffe has since become one of his favourite stories since he began performing his Noel Coward review in Perth five years ago. Hongkong was treated to the one-man show in 1990, when he made his international debut with four sold-out performances. Since then, he has travelled Asia performing at various ''spiritual homes'' of Coward, including the reopening of Singapore's Raffles hotel. ''It was very special,'' he said. ''I did the reopening party for 800 personal friends.'' Swinbank returns to Hongkong this week, having just stepped off the QE2, where he gave several performances. His revamped show, entitled A Talent to Amuse has Swinbank donning his alter ego for a 90-minute cabaret. Included in the show is a special version of Let's Do It, in which he doctors the lyrics to encompa ss various timely topics, such as the scandals of the British royal family and the US and Australian elections. Swinbank said a few Hongkong touches would also be added. ''The show gives a very complete picture of Coward's comedic style, as well as a good picture of his world - the world of the English abroad, during the 1920s and '30s when they were trying to escape from humdrum and dreary times,'' he said. Swinbank will be accompanied by pianist Marie Sermon, who humorously plays off Swinbank's patter without saying a word. John Michael Swinbank's Noel Coward revue, A Talent to Amuse, will be at the Fringe Club from Wednesday-Saturday at 8 pm. Tickets are $110 for non-members and $100 for members. For details call 521-7251.