GUYS AND DOLLS
Director: Vicki Clarkson
Choreographer: Benjamin Carter
Musical Director: John Barry
Frank Loesser’s musical fable is one of musical theatres masterpieces. It is a show that perfectly integrates music and text seamlessly to form a story. Based on Damon Runyon’s “The idyll 0f Miss Sarah Brown” it colourfully depicts 1930s New York’s underworld with its gangsters and dice games.
The question of dressing the show for young performer is always difficult. However, once again, the in-house team of seamstresses transformed the cast into recognisable characters. Against a suitable set with creative lighting and a sound design that flawlessly balanced music and voice, Runyonland was ready to be inhabited.
Frank Loesser’s wonderful score was so well interpreted: the band was brassy but classy. All the kicks and flicks of the inventive choreography were executed with precision by the multi-talented cast, and especially the Hot Box and Havana dancers. Coupled with the detailed character work by the director, the joint creativity with the MD and choreographer resulted in a pacey entertaining production.
The ensemble’s energy was in evidence as the show’s gamblers and their gals energised the set pieces into showstoppers. Interwoven plot threads by supporting cast members engagingly added to the unfolding drama. Holly Gibson, as General Cartwright, Joe Butler-Smith as Benny Southwest, and Elliot Blyth as Arvide Abernathy, to name just a few of the gallery of saints and sinners, brought the story to life.
Nathan, along with his cohorts, will do anything to run his craps game. Sam Jones was Nicely Nicely Johnson; he rocked the theatre with “Sit Down Your Rockin the Boat”. The opening “Fugue for Tinhorns” with Benny and Rusty displayed some first-rate harmonies.
Charismatic Sky Masterson, who bets on taking a Doll to Havana, was given all the necessary characteristics and charm by Jacob Beresford. The Doll was Sister Sarah Brown. Mia Connor made sure the character was not a total weakling and showing she was not totally swept of her feet. Both Jacob and Mia delightfully played the cat and mouse game.
Detroit has been engaged to Adelaide for many a year but at the same time doing everything to avoid matrimony. Jake Butler-Smith as the tilted fedora, crap game host brought every nuance possible to the role. Nathan roamed the giddy Metropolis trying to find a venue to play the dice game while placating Adelaide. Nathan’s long-suffering fiancée was played by Honor Thompson. She showed Adelaide’s vulnerability with just enough sniffling for “Adelaide’s Lament”. Honor totally revelled in the role acting the character from the inside. This couple were well paired and complemented each other.
“Guys and Dolls” is a show of shows, and this production had the feel-good factor. It was a great night spent in the theatre.