Guys and Dolls
12th March 2018
Theatre Royal, York
Type of Production
Author: Terry Harrison
This show goes back to 1950 but remains a popular choice. Another production is due elsewhere in the district within a few weeks, a professional, albeit rather different, production in Manchester over last Christmas attracted large audiences and another in the open air in the summer is already heavily booked. It contains a mixture of songs in various styles and much humour: all the necessary ingredients for an entertaining evening.
This production is in the capable hands of some talented and experienced performers, although two of the four major roles are handled by newcomers to the Company and a third, in only his second appearance, is making his debut as a principal. Many Societies are finding it difficult to attract new members nowadays but the combination of such a good show, the reputation of this Society and maybe even the opportunity of performing in such a splendid venue seems to have done the trick here.
As the Salvationist Sarah Brown Annabel Van Griethuysen gave an assured performance and established a good rapport with gambler Sky Masterson despite their vastly different backgrounds . I have seen professional productions in which the developing relationship between the two characters was much less convincing. Here, however, whilst still having the necessary authority whereby his promised 12 gamblers felt compelled to follow him to the Mission, George Morgan’s performance as Sky skilfully avoided the arrogance which would have made the romance less credible.
Andy Roberts gave an amusing performance as Nathan Detroit, always struggling to keep up with the demands of his fellow gamblers anxious to relieve him of his cash. At the same time, he is faced with reminders from his fiancée of 14 years that the time has come to make their relationship rather more permanent. Rachael Wilkinson has been a regular member of the cast here for several years but her performance as Miss Adelaide is, I think, the first time I have seen her in a comedy role. It’s a part which requires not only her singing and dancing skills with which we are already familiar but also the timing necessary to extract all the humour. She made an excellent job of it all, particularly in coping with sometimes difficult rhythms in “Sue me” and with her sneeze-ridden lament.
Richard Bayton gave Nicely-Nicely something of an eccentricity as well as an insatiable appetite and the other gamblers were in excellent voice in “Luck be a Lady” and the “Fugue for Tinhorns”. I must not forget to mention Geoff Turner as Grandfather Arvide, reprising his role from the production 30 years ago, when he must have been far too young!
From their beginnings in the 1950s, York Light have built up an extensive wardrobe which means we can always be certain that costumes will be attractive and I was particularly impressed by the collection of co-respondent shoes for each of the gamblers. As ever, the orchestra provided excellent backing, this year under a new Musical Director.
This is a show about gambling but as usual a show by this Company is a winner!