|Date||31st May 2014|
|Society||Stage One Youth Theatre Group|
|Venue||Ferneham Hall, Fareham|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Musical Director||Dennis Brombley|
Author: John E Thomas - Youth Adviser
~~This ever popular show has great Cole Porter songs and a range of parts for all would be leading actors in a society. It borders on farce as the story of love tangles, gangsters and class, aboard a cruise liner the SS America unfolds.
There was a really strong cast in depth with Matt Fisher in the role of Billy Crocker offering a strong lead in romance, comedy and great voice as an 'accidental stowaway'. He is keen to develop his interest in the upper class socialite Hope Harcourt (Lysette Stubbs) played with a nice line in airs and graces but with a soft spot for Billy. But, she is engaged to upper class toff Lord Evelyn Oakley (Josh Dennis) with plans to marry on board whose nack of confusing some well-known American slang with English words was a joy throughout. Was his secret alliance in the Far East going to be his undoing or would he really enjoy a happier life with the beautiful, sexy showgirl Reno Sweeney played by Ellie Jones. Ellie clearly relished her role and leads a rousing chorus rendition of 'Blow Gabriel Blow' in Act Two. This was enhanced by the talents of Reno's angels - Purity, Chastity, Charity and Virtue (Zoe Elliott, Sian Samways, Charlotte Brombley and Phoebe Saunders) who, combined with some creative choreography made the most of their alluring charms.
Just to confuse the cause, the Liner is short of real celebraties, so somehow, small time crook, Moonface Martin (Declan-Dali Murphy) becomes billed as Public Enemy Number One. He creates a mistaken identity for Billy Crocker who also becomes a celebrity in his new persona but ends up in the Brigg with the bungaling and highly incompentent Moonface, whose comedy moments with a violin case were great. His 'goyle' Erma (Jessica Manns) puts up with it; well she was long suffering and a good foile for his incompetence. The totally 'out of it' American tycoon, Elisha J Witney (Josef Gorecki) who just happens to be Billy's boss, created a character of his own, and with extra thick spectacles gave us some great comedy moments particularly when Erma pretends to seduce him! The ship's Captain (Georgie Cox) and Purser (Toby Wardale) show a stoic resolve to hold things together but had to admit defeat whilst Hope's mother, the truly upper class Evangeline Harcourt (Laura Johnson) eventually realises that the fluctuating wealth of Elisha J Witney was too good to resist and all's well that ends well!
Always difficult to sustain the pace and continuity as farcical storylines unfold; but without doubt the real fun and energy as protrayed by the cast transmitted itself to the audience who enjoyed the facets of this popular show, and of course we all love a happy ending.
A simple static set provided good levels and room for business to be enacted. Costumes were excellent and complimented the characters. The action is played out to a background of well-known and toe-tapping Cole Porter musical numbers, such as "You're The Top", "It's de Loverly"; "Let's Misbehave" and the title song "Anything Goes". Most of the principals and chorus numbers were well executed, supported by the tuneful orchestra, under the direction of Dennis Brombley.
Director Jacqui Ivemy has a deft touch, bringing out the comedy and giving us some great entertainment well supported by Matt Newman as Choreographer.
Overall a most enjoyable evening’s entertainment!