Anything Goes

Wed 21st – Sat 24th March 2012

reviews

Jessica Reid

at 00:58 on 23rd Mar 2012

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Overall, Anything Goes was an enjoyable production. The singing was lovely, especially from Fred Ward and Ellie Jackson and in the numbers featuring the full cast. The band was flawless. The use of a real dog, Poppy, was charming and it was a shame that they did not make greater use of her. The dance choreography was extremely skilled.

There were several demonstrations of fabulous acting. Adam Farrell and Jamie Budgett were hilarious as Moonface Martin and Lord Evelyn. Sam Ramsey was entirely believable and very funny as the camp Captain. Simon Kane was absolutely deranged as Whitney and deserves recognition for the way he totally lost any inhibitions. Jackson, as Hope, was adept at suggesting her character’s feelings with the subtlest of movements and was a good foil for Reno, played by Christina Tedders, who although a bit flat at the start, was impressive by the end.

Many of the songs were performed well. 'All Through The Night' was an ethereal duet between the angelic voiced duo, Ward and Jackson. 'Friendship' was expertly performed by Farrell and Tedders. It was engaging, funny, and it vividly brought to life the relationship between their characters. 'Buddie Beware' sung by L-J Keston, was another highlight. While Keston had been very expressive in earlier moments, she had sometimes lacked projection. In this song, she triumphed and it was a very entertaining number. The interaction and choreography with the four sailors was intimate and well rehearsed.

The best song was 'The Gypsy In Me' which was performed hilariously by Budgett. He was amazingly over-the-top and passionate, with brilliant timing. It was hysterical and Tedders’ expressive responses gave it a sense of spontaneity, which added to the fun. The depiction of the angels as belly-dancing gypsies increased the comedy although it did draw focus away from the singing: it almost seemed like there were two separate performances fighting for attention, which with its lack of a sense of cohesion was typical of the production as a whole.

Sadly, there were several aesthetic flaws. The set and indeed the staging was a hindrance to the piece; the end-on stage seemed too rigid and failed to bear any resemblance to a ship. The set may have been practical and low budget but it was visually dull and certainly did not exude any of the glamour one would expect from a ship in the 1930’s. As a result of the staging limitations, the major dance numbers were often overly crowded, which suppressed their potential impact.

The main problem was that the production appeared quite fragmented. There were moments with wonderful emotion, there were sequences with hilarious comedy and there were scenes which oozed talent. Unfortunately, they rarely combined. Consequently, there was a general lack of energy and excitement. Although it was pleasant and fun, Anything Goes lacked the atmosphere and confidence of a completely polished production.

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