Saturday, 19 July 2014

Guys and Dolls, July 19, 2014 ****

Music& Lyrics by Frank Loesser, Book by Joe Swerling & Abe Burrows
Based on a story by Damon Runyon
Produced by The Production Company
State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne, until July 19 to 27, 2014
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Stars: ****
Review also published in Herald Sun online on Tuesday, 22 July then in print on Wed 23 July, 2014. KH 

Blend some New York gangsters and gamblers with showgirls and missionaries, toss in some romance and songs, and you get Frank Loesser’s inimitable Guys and Dolls.

This 1950 musical is based on Damon Runyon’s gritty, underworld stories but is seasoned with Loesser’s witty lyrics and singable tunes, and earthy dialogue and book by Joe Swerling and Abe Burrows.

Director, Gale Edwards, musters an exceptional cast of singer-actor-dancers in the lead roles and the accomplished Orchestra Victoria, conducted by Guy Simpson, is impressive performing Loesser’s music.

The story is a classic Romeo and Juliet tale of two lovers from the opposing worlds of petty crime and the temperance society.

As Sarah Brown, the prim, pious Save Our Souls gal, Verity Hunt-Ballard shifts effortlessly from prissy preaching to riotous, drunken salsa dancing in Havana and her versatile voice is clear and pretty singing If I Were A Bell.

Martin Crewes plays Sarah’s inappropriate love interest, the brash and footloose chronic gambler, Sky Masterson, and their voices blend well in their two sweetly romantic duets, I’ll Know and I’ve Never Been In Love Before.

Adam Murphy is effectively goofy and gauche as Nathan Detroit, the petty crook who runs a clandestine, very illegal, floating crapshoot in New York.

Chelsea Plumley is hilariously brassy as Nathan’s long-suffering showgirl fiancĂ©e, and her rendition of Adelaide’s Lament (“A person could develop a cold”) is impish and sassy.

Playing Nicely-Nicely Johnson is the audacious, singing, tap-dancing dynamo, Bobby Fox, who almost steals the show when he delivers Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat.

The dialogue is fast, funny and Runyonesque, echoing the tough, street-talk of New York’s underworld, and the production is peppered with Nathan M. Wright’s zingy choreography, including the spicy Havana salsa and the slick, sharp moves during the illicit crapshoot in the sewers.

Guys and Dolls has a sure-fire recipe of mischievous characters singin’ and dancin’ their way to redemption and Loesser’s memorable tunes make it a very entertaining night.

By Kate Herbert


No comments:

Post a Comment