Anything Goes

Date 11th April 2014
Society Wigan Musical Theatre Group
Venue St Michael's Parish Hall
Type of Production Musical
Director Christine Armstrong
Musical Director Joan Bond
Choreographer Alexandra Keogh


Author: Patricia Connor

“Anything Goes” has music and lyrics written by Cole Porter based on a book by Guy Bolton and P.G.Wodehouse which was revised by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse. The story is set on board an ocean liner bound for London sailing from New York. Billy Crocker a young Wall Street broker goes to the dock to say farewell to his boss and also his friend Nightclub singer Reno Sweeney, he has previously fallen in love with heiress Hope Harcourt during a chance meeting in a taxi who turns out to be a passenger on board the ship, but unfortunately for Billy she is already engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh .Billy stows away on the ship to try and win Hope's heart, Reno and Moonface Martin a gangster and also Public Enemy Number 13 try and help Billy win Hope’s heart with the result mayhem brakes out.

This was an entertaining production directed by Christine Armstrong with some talented performers in the cast who all produced nice characterisations in their roles and worked well together as a team. Alyson Wilson as Reno Sweeny had a good singing voice which suited this part very well, I particularly enjoyed her rendition of “Blow Gabriel Blow”. An energetic Josh Ruding gave a very enjoyable comedic performance as the love sick Billy Crocker and Sandy Armstrong also sang very well in the role of Hope Harcourt. Philip Makin was very aristocratic as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh his number ‘The Gypsy in Me’ was very funny indeed while John Clinton gave us an excellent comedic performance as Moonface Martin, his comic timing was spot on which is essential in this type of role and production.  Moonface was accompanied on board the ship by Erma the gangsters moll nicely played by Lisa Bryden. There was also some very good characterisations and comedy from the supporting roles these included Jennifer Santus as Hope’s mother Evangeline Harcourt, Ken Rees as Billy’s boss Elisha Whitney, Gary Williams as the ship’s Captain, Lee Sillery who gave us a very funny camp Ship’s Purser, Paul Balfour and Ian Hollis were amusing as Brother Luke and Bother John, and finally Bill Collins gave us the Reverend Henry T Dobson. The chorus sang well and performed with enthusiasm, they all appeared to be enjoying themselves immensely throughout the show. Generally American accents were good, diction was clear so dialogue could be heard and followed easily. However this show is usually well known for its spectacular tap and dance routines which were missing from this production.  Nevertheless choreography by Alexandra Keogh did compliment the musical numbers and appeared appropriate for the production, meaning the absence of this type of dance routine I am sure did not detract from the audience’s enjoyment of the show.  The orchestra led by Musical Director Joan Bond played well, supporting and accompanying the cast securely. Scenery was well designed for maximum efficiency and for the size of stage; enabling quick and smooth scene changes. The costumes were very colourful, looked nice, suited the roles and fitted the era well.

Congratulations and well done to Director Christine Armstrong for this very enjoyable production and also to all involved including the back stage crew and front of house. Thank you for inviting me, I hope to see you for your next production.