Anything Goes

Date 6th April 2022
Society Spennymoor Stage and Song
Venue Spennymoor Town Hall
Type of Production Musical
Director Eric Hickson
Musical Director Kathleen Hammerton
Choreographer Ann-Marie Clayton & Stacey Thompson


Author: Helen Abraham

I was absolutely delighted to be invited to Spennymoor Stage & Song’s latest production, Anything Goes.  A lovely warm welcoming group who make you feel at home from the second you walk into the Town Hall door.  Spennymoor were the first of District 4’s groups to “bounce back” post pandemic and their follow up production Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” was absolutely superb.

I’m told that director Eric intends to retire from the helm at Spennymoor this year after 30 loyal years of hard work and bringing quality musical theatre to the people of Spennymoor.  I’m sure he will not be too far away however and will really be missed by cast, crew and audiences alike.  Thank you for your service Eric.

The set as always, designed and built by Eric Hickson and his team of volunteers was really excellent with a 6 foot deck, two cubby holes for the jail and cabins and two study staircases to add a lovely dimension to the scenery.  Truly excellent use of block colour and drapes to create the various indoor scenes required for this show.

The costumes were absolutely superb!  I understand they were put together by Sue Marley, the society wardrobes with some hired from AG Costumes and they really set the cast apart, they looked fabulous and were very flattering to everyone.  Even down to the details like the Angels wearing matching shoes and colour co-ordinated clothing & accessories.  I noticed!

The show itself was excellent and as is the difficulty in really excellent shows, it’s hard to pull out one or a few individual performers as all truly shone.  However, the role of Reno Sweeney could have been made for Wendy Hindmarch, she absolutely shone like a star, looked gorgeous and sounded amazing.  Her singing voice is beautiful and the role of Reno allowed her to really shine.  Stewart Harland as the Purser had us in stitches with his on stage antics, a brilliant comedy role.  Jayne Etherington was a beautiful modest Hope Harcourt who sang a lovely rendition of “Goodbye” and Ann-Marie Clayton was a brilliant Evangeline Harcourt.  I loved George Morgan-Watson as the aristocrat Evelyn Oakleigh, he really gave that character a new dimension and was perfectly cast.  His delivery and comic timing were excellent, “Gypsy in me” and the matador section cracked us up.     Sarah Grey as Erma lit up the stage when she was on and I do think Erma is a part not utilised enough in this version of Anything Goes and sadly written out of the updated one.  All of the cast came together as a team to deliver a sterling performance.

The famous end of Act 1 tap number to “Anything Goes” did not disappoint, full of life, exciting choreography, smiles and triple wings from Liam Etherington who took on the part of Billy Crocker with a gusto!  Triples are no mean feat so kudos to you Liam!

The choreography from Stacey Thompson and Ann-Marie Clayton really deserves credit.  Well-rehearsed, slick, appropriate movement, good use of the space available, smiles and also a lovely diverse mix of ages in the dancers which I love to see.  As an ex dancer I have to say I’m always drawn most to the choreography element of shows and this one was right up my street.

The only downside was some sound issues in that personal microphones were repeatedly cutting out meaning levels of sounds were imbalanced for the audience but I’ve been assured that’s to be remedied for the rest of the run.

Another wonderful evening with Spennymoor Stage and Song and I can’t wait for the next one.