Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Saturday, 19 July 2014
Guys and Dolls, July 19, 2014 ****
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
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.
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.
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 fiancée, 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.
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.
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