Guys and Dolls

Date 5th May 2022
Society Worthing Musical Comedy Society
Venue Connaught Theatre, Worthing
Type of Production Musical
Director/Choreographer Mandy Chapman
Musical Director Nigel Newman
Book by Jo Swerling & Abe Burrows
Music & Lyrics Frank Loesser

Report

Author: Keith Smithers

For those of us who love musicals, whether on or off stage, we have had a lean two years. WMCS came back this week with a bang. The eight-strong orchestra led an extremely well-rehearsed cast through the many famous songs and lyrics by Frank Loesser.

The show opened with an enacted overture leading us into the first few scenes to get to know the gambling community of New York and the frustrated bride-to-be, Miss Adelaide (Sarah Papouis). This part was played superbly as she persisted in her determination to marry Nathan Detroit (John Chambers) who was equally minded that it would not happen. As Nathan and his betting friends, Nicely-Nicely Johnson (Wayne Roberts), Benny Southstreet (Tom Brennan), Rusty Charlie (Lee Knight) and several others plan their next game, we meet the man who intends to ruin their fun - Lt. Brannigan (Richard Gladwell).

Sky Masterson (Jack Winrow) is a high stakes gambler and takes up a bet from Nathan that he can take a “doll” to Havana on a date. Nathan, to ensure he wins, picks the girl from the Save-a-Soul Mission. This girl, Sarah Brown (Paige Blackman) and Sky have some wonderful duets, sung beautifully and characterised very well. Before the curtain comes down on act one, we have some excellently choreographed dances in the Havana scenes and probably the best known duet from the production - “I’ve never been in love before”.

During act two as both couples head towards matrimony, we still have plenty of action, songs and dancing performed to perfection. There is a number, sung by Arvide Abernathy (Denis Fuller) to Sarah - “More I cannot wish you” - which was one of my favourites from the whole show.

All the characterisation was fitting for the whole evening and there were two more cast who I will mention for their important contribution to the story. Big Jule (Mark Thomas) as the boss of Chicago crap shooters and Matilda B. Cartwright (Elspeth Bunker) as the mission General.  All the others named in the program, too many to mention by name, were well cast and added greatly to the enjoyment of the evening.

The scenery was good and very cleverly manoevered throughout the many scenes, costumes were in keeping with the time, and sound and lighting cues very precise.

Congratulations to all on stage, backstage and in production roles for making this a wonderful production.