April 12 – 16
Stagecraft: Libretto: Performance:
Everytime I see Guys & Dolls, I fall in love with it a little bit more. This Broadway smash, was invoked invoked in the 1950s, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. In 2016, Chichester Theatre is taking their version on the road, & what a joy to behold. The lights, & orchestra, & stagecraft, & singing, & O just everything was top notch. I don’t know what it is about the 50s & classic musicals, but Guys & Dolls really does carries the quintessence of what musicals are all about. Set in the seedy ‘devil’s-own-streets’ underbelly of Prohibition-Era New York, we encounter a cartoonesque world of gamblers, drink & other such vices, into which a team of sacred sisters have been sent to save with a series of late-night prayer meetings. One of these, Sister Sarah (Anna O’Byrne ) is our leading lady, whose sweet voice melted like ambrosia on the ears. Beside her stood, danced & quipped the ubersmooth Sky Masterson (Richard Fleeshman), & together they catalysed the best moment of the night, when Sister Sarah found herself drunk & letting loose in Cuba. Special praise must also go to flame-haired Louise Dearman’s ‘Miss Adelaide,’ whose accent, dancing, singing &, well, just about everything, was perfect.
Musically & choreographically, this was a technically flawless affair, while the humour was delivered with deadly timing – the crowd loved it. As for the music itself, its not the catchiest collection of songs, but the two most famous numbers, ‘Luck Be a Lady‘ &‘Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat’ were given the full monty with some great routines, the latter of which I’m still humming as I write. A chic, sleek production, this one, of which director, Gordon Greenberg, should be proud.
Reviewer Damo Bullen