This classic musical is given a fantastic revival in this Chichester Festival Theatre transfer that is light and bubbly throughout.
With fantastic music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, a great story based on the book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows and you have got one heck of a cure for the January blues.
Nathan Detroit (David Haig) is a desperate gambler who needs money to start an illegal dice game and he needs it soon. On top of this he has been engaged to Miss Adelaide (Sophie Thompson) for 14 years and she is piling on the pressure to get married.
Enter Sky Masterson (Jamie Parker), a notorious gambler who enjoys a bet or two and Sarah Brown (Siubhan Harrison), a missionary determined to redeem all the sinners in New York city. So Nathan bets Sky that he can’t take Sarah on a date – so surely this is one bet that Nathan can’t lose?
This fast paced and energetic production really brings to life the characters and the story, engaging the audience from beginning to end thanks to the fantastic costumes designed by Peter McKintosh that reflect the characters perfectly. such as as Sky’s sharp suit – that shows he means business or Miss Adelaide’s countless outfits – showing that she is soft hearted and easy to love character.
But it is also the sharpness and the high quality of the performances that also make this a dynamic show. There is a particular stand out performance that really captures the spirit of Guys and Dolls – Sophie Thompson as Miss Adelaide. It seems to be a role that was made for her, with the audience laughing hard at her every line, yet at the same time managing to make her a sympathetic character – a great balance. her bubbly personality is infectious and it is difficult not to fall in love with her – particularly during Adelaide’s Lament that shows comedy genius as well as her character’s vulnerability.
Meanwhile, David Haig as Nathan is perhaps slightly too likeable to be a properly convincing gambler who refuses to change his ways and occasionally it sounded as though his accent was slightly over the place. But he had a great sense of comic timing and is a great partnership with Thompson.
As for Jamie Parker as Sky, his vocal performances are astonishing and exciting to listen to – particularly during ‘I’ve Never Been in Love Before’ and ‘Luck Be a Lady’. His character comes across as charming and sincere. Siubhan Harrison shows a great development as her character softens towards Sky and has some of the most difficult moments to sing such as in ‘I’ll Know’ and ‘I’ve Never Been in Love Before’ – but handles it well.
The choreography by Carlos Acosta and Andrew Wright is slick, smooth and extremely entertaining – exactly what is required for Guys and Dolls. There is plenty of dancing involved and perhaps that is why the set is a little bit basic and bare – but this means that the show is perhaps lacking a bit of glamour.
Gordon Greenberg’s production is a lot of fun and certainly has the audience tapping their feet – never mind rockin’ the boat – this production certainly rocks the Savoy Theatre.
Guys and Dolls is on at the Savoy Theatre until the 12th March, before embarking on a UK tour from the 16th March to 30th July. To buy tickets visit: UK Tickets.co.uk, ATG Tickets, Theatre People.com, Ticketmaster.co.uk, Love Theatre.com, Discount Theatre.com and Theatre Tickets Direct.co.uk.