Friday, 22 July 2011

Anything Goes, Cole Porter, Production Co. July 22, 2011

Anything Goes, The Production Co ****
  • Kate Herbert
  • From: Herald Sun
  • July 22, 2011 11:54AM 

ANYTHING GOES, Arts Centre State Theatre, until July 24, 2011

ANYTHING Goes, with music and lyrics by the inimitable Cole Porter, is an irresistible, fizzy drink with a dash of hard liquor.

Its 1934 Broadway premiere was guaranteed to chase away Depression blues with its screwball, shipboard antics and singable tunes.

It is a cheeky, old-fashioned show featuring deceiving fianc├ęs, disguised gangsters (or is that gagsters?), lovelorn stowaways, drunken stockbrokers, seductive sirens, sultry showgirls and tap-dancing sailors.

The story is set aboard an ocean liner, but Dean Bryant and Andrew Hallsworth’s production moves at the cracking pace of a speedboat.

Gags come thick and fast, the dialogue is racy, riddled with sexual innuendo, religious satire, loose morals, hard drinking and unashamed racial stereotypes.

Cole Porter’s genius for witty lyrics, sublime rhymes and toe-tapping melodies is evident in the array of hit songs played by the vivacious Orchestra Victoria, lead by Peter Casey.

Amanda Harrison is a standout as tough, nightclub singer, Reno, and her thrilling voice, magnetic stage presence and feisty characterisation make I Get A Kick Out of You, Anything Goes and Blow Gabriel zing.

Alex Rathgeber’s brings his bright vocal tones and playfulness to Billy, the stowaway. His duets with with Harrison (You’re The Top) and with Christy Sullivan as heiress Hope (De-Lovely), are delightful.

Sassy Christie Whelan as brassy, gangster moll, Erma, steals scenes with such songs as Buddie, Beware with a chorus of sailors.

Todd McKenney enjoys playing upper-class twit Lord Evelyn; Wayne Scott Kermond clowns around as Moonface, Public Enemy number 13; John O’May is a suitably sozzled Eli; Anne Wood is fortune-hunting socialite Evangeline; and Christie Sullivan is her bright-eyed, debutante daughter Hope.

Anything Goes is a bold, hilarious night of entertainment that cheers the cold, winter night and has you singing Cole Porter all the way home.

Star rating: * * * *

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