Review: Guys and Dolls

Terry Wills watches the latest production of a Broadway classic.

Welcome back to one of the stage’s best-loved loved musical comedies, Guys and Dolls. Many devotees such as myself first saw the 1956 Hollywood film production starring the inimitable Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons and Vivian Blaine. In consequence when becoming a theatre production, it inevitably became a must see show, always appreciated, and leaving audiences acknowledging a splendid evening’s entertainment.

Based on a musical fable it’s a tale set in downtown New York, revolving around four main characters. Nathan Detroit (David Haig) is a professional gambler who runs the oldest floating crap game in New York. Miss Adelaide (Sophie Thompson) is a night dlub singer/dancer in addition to being Nathan’s long suffering fiancĂ©e of fourteen years. Would the Great Day ever come?

Sky Masterson (James Parker), another gambler who will bet on anything and everything just to get his kicks. Sarah Brown (Siobhan Harrison), a Salvationist from the local Mission who through a combination of outrageous bets eventually falls in love with the sinner. Add a set of willing of equally willing sinners – Nicely Johnson, Benny South Street, Big Julie, and Harry the Horse. Let the fun begin.

Down the years there have been many revivals and this current production, prior to opening in London’s West End Savoy Theatre, looks certain to follow in the footsteps of many of its innumerable productions. There’s a large illuminated set filled with high kicking lively dance routines, outrageous colourful costumes and impressive singing, aided by an orchestra under the direction of Musical Director Gareth Valentine; there are highlights in abundance.

Instant recognition comes of well-known catchy numbers A Bushell and a Peck, If I wWre a Bell, Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat and the title song. Butjudging by the audience reaction, the song that went down best was the theme of a gambling musical Luck be a Lady song by Jamie Parker’s Sky Masterson.

For anyone unfamiliar with Guys and Dolls here’s the opportunity to get acquainted. It’s playing at the New Alexandra Theatre until December 5th.