Thursday, 11 February 2016

"Anything Goes" by Musicality
Nottingham Arts Theatre.

I could sum up this performance with three words. This show is...... AMAZING!

From past experience I knew that this show would be of a high standard based on last year's "The Producers" and the previous year's "Phantom", so my expectations were already on a high. Top that with previously chatting to, and getting to know a bit about the producer, director and the actors who played Billy and Reno last month, I just knew that this was going to be a popular and talented cast and show.

Well every expectation was exceeded, and in the words of one of Porter's songs, "You're The Tops"! This show was like a perfect recipe, everything that should have been in there, was in there, and it was a tasty treat for eyes and ears and left a very nice after taste in your mouth.

Billy Crocker, a young Wall Street broker, has fallen in love at first sight with a beautiful girl he met in a taxi, Hope Harcourt. His boss, Elisha J. Whitney, is preparing to make a business deal and is going to travel to London aboard the SS American. Evangelist turned nightclub singer Reno Sweeney will be traveling aboard the same ship. Billy sees Reno as a friend, but she obviously has feelings for him. Billy stows away which is when he discovers Hope is on board with her fiancĂ© Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Throw into the mix a second-rate gangster, "Moonface" Martin, and his moll, Bonnie, and the deceit and fun begins.

Reno is played Amy Foden and what a belter of a voice she possesses. looking like a young Kylie Minogue, Amy won me over straight away with her wonderful character and powerful voice. She has a great confidence on stage and you feel really comfortable watching her perform.

Billy, played by Sam Wilson, also has a voice just made for musical theatre. i've heard Sam's vocals on more contemporary work, but singing musical theatre, and especially Cole Porter is something different, but he smashed it. Teamed with a very confidence persona in Billy, his charm shines through.

Hope, the object of Billy's affections, is played by Rebecca Lillie. She performs with emotion and is a pleasure to watch.

There are two characters who really put a smile on my face. Oliver Smith played Hope's fiance, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, with a wonderfully comic stiff upper lip and typical British misunderstanding of American terminology and slang, which makes for some very comical moments. When his gypsy is revealed, and that's not a euphemism, his whole persona changes.

Moonface Martin is a brilliant character, and in the past I've seen some actors not take the full advantage of this character and the comic opportunities, which has left the character a little flat. Not so with Laurence Cuthbert. He took every opportunity and gave an amazing performance. Such boundless enthusiasm in the dancing and character. Like everyone on that stage, he looked like he was having as much fun as we were, and that was infectious.

The very sexy Erma (Yasmin Ali) had all the sailors, at times, falling literally at her feet and some brilliant classic choreography for her main number with the aforementioned pursers, played by Jon Walker, Matthew Charlton, Joe Hincks and Kishan Soni; all four putting in some equally stylish song and dance numbers.

Jake Geleritter played Billy's boss, Elisha Whitney. Another very confident and his musical theatre history shows this confidence has been there for a while.

Jess Lacey is wonderfully over-bearing as Hope's mother with just the right amount of haughtiness.

A brilliant ensemble complement the above perfectly in all the song and dance numbers. A brilliant orchestra were crisp and punchy coupled with some wonderful lighting make this as close to perfection as you can get. It's very hard to believe that this show wasn't a professional production as it would not be out of place on the bigger stages.

Talking of production, I can't heap the praise enough because you can tell the hard graft that has been put into this show. Lucy Castle, the director and co choreographer, along with Luke Emery didn't put a step wrong with some brilliant, classy choreography. A theme that Luke has carried through the last three year's Musicality productions. Both choreographers could get this type of work anywhere in professional theatre with this calibre of work on their CVs.

Produced by Jordan Balkham and with Emma Kennedy (musical director), Adam Hollingshurst (assistant musical director) and Dominic Howlett (assistant director), they are the dream production team.

Great, but simple set, some brilliant Cole Porter songs, "I Get A Kick Out Of You", "It's De-Lovely", "Blow Gabriel Blow","All Through The Night" and of course "Anything Goes", wonderful costumes and a cast that, in my opinion, are nothing less than professional standard, this is one musical you'd be an absolute idiot to miss. 

The Arts Theatre was packed with a very enthusiastic crowd. Wasn't sure if anyone else gave a standing ovation at the end as I was already on my feet showing that I loved the show and wasn't bothered if I was the only one as this is one of the best productions I've seen this year.

"Anything Goes" is on at the Nottingham Arts Theatre until Saturday 13 February 2016. Don't miss your chance to see the West End stars of the future today!

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