Guys and Dolls

Date 26th April 2022
Society Walmsley Church Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society
Venue Walmsley Parish Hall
Type of Production Musical
Director Nora Howcroft
Musical Director Tim Power
Choreographer Lara Syddall
Written By Frank lesser, Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows


Author: Liz Hume-Dawson

Walmsley Church Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society - Guys and Dolls


Like quite a few societies Walmsley CAODS were weeks away from putting on this show Guys and Dolls . . . and two years later here we are. Nora Howcroft the Chairman and Director says in her programme notes they have a renewed energy, excitement and yearning to perform and it showed.

Guys and Dolls was taken from Damon Runyon’s short stories about gangsters, gamblers and the underworld of New York and turned into this well-loved musical. Music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. Nearly every number you remember and remember the words (or is that just me?), I did hear people singing along, so maybe not.

Opening with skyline backdrop and on the apron is the newsstand stage left that turned around to be used when in Havana and stage right is Miss Adelaide’s dressing room. The scenes looked good and the backdrop in the sewer was effective - lighting added to this. Stage Manager was John West. Stage crew were Anne Cocking, Brian Craven, Nora Howcroft, Dave McGreavy, Gill Pollitt, Zoe Pollitt and Linda West and Lighting Norman Bowers and John Cocking. Sound was natural and unobtrusive by Lea Royce and Elodie Perrier. Costume complemented the characters - wardrobe by Mary Pycroft. Choreographer was Lara Syddall - it was a good idea to use the dancers as the gamblers in the crap game as this added to the numbers. I think sometimes choreographers can try to be gimmicky or too complicated, but Lara knows her cast and what works is that all know what they are doing and move as one.

Musical Director was Tim Power and Assistant Musical Director is Tom Bowes who had obviously worked hard - a lovely sound emanated from the stage - well done!

Robert Peters was Lt Brannigan, Carl Bottomley was Big Jule, Keith Shatwell was Harry the Horse, Eileen Reeves was Agatha, Julie Ogden was General Cartwright, Teresa Harper was Mimi and David Witt was Rusty Charlie added to the supporting cast. David Reeves playing Arvide  More I Cannot Wish You was a delight - all I can say it was like a warm hug – lovely! Joe Davies as Nicely-Nicely was a delight and appeared to work his way through a veg shop - munching on various vegetables through the show. Leading Sit Down, Your Rocking the Boat he was brilliant and his comic timing great and working well with Alan Moss as Benny - loved Guys and Dolls - great work!

Husband and wife take on the roles of Nathan Detroit played by David Wilson and Miss Adelaide played by Vicki Wilson. What fun they must have had doing these two characters. David bringing a comedy to the role I have not seen before. Vicki as the ever-hopeful Miss Adelaide. Lovely numbers with the Hot Box Girls and loved her Marry the Man Today with Sarah Brown. Sarah was played by Adrienne Wormald who gave a lovely considered performance as the girl who just wants to do right and help people but is in love with the man who is not her ideal choice. She had great chemistry on stage with Sky.

Great casting as Sky was Steve Benson as if the part was meant for him - his swagger and charisma on stage were just right. I’ll Know with Adrienne was just lovely. Steve was in fine voice - well played! Congratulation to the Committee, Cast and Crew on the staging of Guys and Dolls.

Thank you for the invite and hospitality from my guest and I.

Liz Hume-Dawson D5 Representative