|27th June 2018
|Pied Pipers Musical Theatre Club
|The Mumford Theatre Cambridge
|Type of Production
|Bryony Sullivan and Helen Thompson
Author: Julie Petrucci
This timeless musical of life on the ocean wave by Cole Porter first hit Broadway in 1934. It’s a toe-tapping show with a romantic light and a pretty frothy plot packed full of familiar catchy hit numbers.
As the action takes place on a cruise ship the set needs to conjure up the deck of a luxury liner with the need to also go 'below deck' to the cabins and the jail cell. The clever design by Sarah Deboys enabled the show to flow through the various scenes and the two tier construction with the band on the top deck provided opportunities for scenes to play below and above deck at the same time.
Lighting and sound added positively to the overall look and sound of the show. Costumes were splendid. I actually coveted Evangeline’s Mother of the Bride outfit.
At the outset I have to say that Musical Director Andrew Taylor excelled himself with the score. The Band made up of Simon Andrews, David Hayton, Paul Garner, John Scott, Alan Grayer,
Tom Hancock and Andrew himself were absolutely superb with just the right sound and lightness for the period of the musical and Cole Porter’s great score. One of the most professional sounds I have heard from an amateur orchestra - and I’ve heard a few.
We were treated to an absolutely storming performance by Emily Ruth Garner, as Reno Sweeney, the glamorous evangelist nightclub singer, showing a nice style in wry comedy and vocally well suited to the demands of the role, with a rousing ‘Blow, Gabriel Blow’, accompanied throughout by her backing group of ‘fallen angels’. Purity (Léonie-Rose Garner), Chastity (Ashleigh Tutchener), Charity (Hannah Caughtry) and Virtue (Kate Harvey).
Chip Colquhoun, gave a smooth and easy performance in the demanding role of Billy Crocker, the lovelorn stowaway on board the liner SS American, in pursuit of his love Hope Harcourt, beautifully played by Eleanor Thompson.
Jeremy Lander, was droll and very funny as Public Enemy No.13 (but with ambitions) Moonface Martin, with the lovely and talented Kate Robinson as man-hungry gangster moll Erma. Erma’s ‘Buddie Beware” with the Purser and Sailors was great.
A nicely judged performance by Rodger Lloyd, as the silly-billy aristocratic fiancé of Hope, Lord Evelyn Oakley, added greatly to the fun and laughter particularly with ‘The Gypsy in Me’ . Madeline Harmer, elegant as his prospective mother-in-law, Evangeline Harcourt. Mrs H is hotly pursued by myopic inebriate business tycoon Elisha Whitney, in an amusing performance by Edward Gildea.
Hedley Bilton and Tom Greenhalgh served well as Ship’s Captain and Purser with Alan Winfield and Jane Presland as Luke and John the Chinese converts adding extra silliness.
There was no doubt at all that the large chorus of sailors and passengers had all worked hard on the tap routines. They all showed commitment, enjoyment and considerable vocal talent. Anything Goes the company finale number of Act 1 was very impressive indeed.
Director/Choreographer Bryony Sullivan and her Assistant Helen Thompson together with the technical skills of the production team and the musical direction of Andrew Taylor ensured high standards. It was very obvious the cast and all involved enjoyed being aboard this happy ship!
Pied Pipers sailed to success with this enthusiastic and lively production.