Guys and Dolls

Composer Frank Loesser has become a Broadway giant, and it takes a brave man to revive what is, arguably, his best known work. However, with Gordon Greenberg’s energetic and glamorous production of Guys and Dolls, this gamble pays off. From first number Fugue for Tinhorns, we are blinded by the set and overwhelmed by the advertisements which depict the commercial culture of 1950s’ America. However, this is not a musical about the bright lights of Broadway. Inspired by the stories of Damon Runyon, this musical tells the tale of the gamblers, crooks and hookers who are often forgotten.

Though all characters were played with conviction, the principles were expertly cast, giving us an insight into the the different types of people who made up this patchwork society.

Though all characters were played with conviction, the principles were expertly cast, giving us an insight into the the different types of people who made up this patchwork society. Richard Fleeshman gave a standout performance as Sky Masterson, oozing confidence, charm and unpredictability – not least when tackling the classic Luck be a Lady, hitting every note while making it his own.

Love blossoms organically between him and missionary Sarah Brown, a role which Anna O’Byrne takes in her stride. Their chemistry was palpable, making this gritty musical even more realistic. We believe that they truly have Never Been in Love Before, as they sing this with sincerity and grace. Maxwell Caulfield is infuriatingly charismatic as Nathan Detroit, and we can see why Adelaide falls for him, despite his addiction to gambling and his organisation of illegal crap games. As Miss Adelaide, Louise Dearman provides comedic relief with the hilarious Adelaide’s Lament, while also depicting the fears and worries of unmarried, aging women.

Fluid choreography by Carlos Acosta and Andrew Wright moves this production forward, with no move seeming arbitrary and no chances for an audience to draw breath. This can be seen specifically in the move from New York City to Havana. The stage is busy and the club becomes messy as Sarah, drinking a ‘Havana milkshake’, gets progressively tipsier ; yet each movement is pointed and well executed. Moreover, the hustle and bustle of New York is navigated with care by the clean cut choreography throughout, ensuring that an audience is immersed in the action as opposed to feeling overwhelmed.

The principles were supported with a cast which added dimension and comedic value to this performance. Specifically, Jack Edwards and Mark Sangster delighted the audience playing Detroit’s henchmen, Nicely Nicely Johnson and Benny Southstreet. The ensemble, though solid in their performance, fumbled slightly with props, which were dropped a number of times. Despite this, there was not one moment where character was broken, whether playing one of Miss Adelaide’s showgirls or a barman in Havana. The energy levels were kept at such a degree that the audience were left dazed and star struck, surprised to be in Edinburgh as opposed to under Broadway’s shining lights.

Reviews by Angela O'Callaghan

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Nathan Detroit is desperate: he needs money for an illegal dice game, and he needs it fast. Not to mention a 14 year engagement with night‑club singer Miss Adelaide whose patience is finally running out. Enter notorious gambler Sky Masterson, a guy who can never turn down a bet, and straight‑laced missionary Sarah Brown, a doll with a heart of ice. The wager: Sky has to romance Sarah by taking her to Havana for dinner and in return he’ll provide a dozen ‘sinners’ for Sarah’s mission. Surely this is one bet Nathan absolutely can’t lose?

The sizzling New York tale of gamblers, gangsters and nightclub singers will leave you “walking on air” (Daily Telegraph) with a glorious evening featuring some of Broadway’s greatest show‑stopping tunes, including ‘Luck Be a Lady’, ‘Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat’ and ‘My Time of Day’. With dazzling choreography by world‑renowned Cuban ballet star Carlos Acosta and Andrew Wright (Singin’ in the Rain and Barnum), and direction from New York’s Gordon Greenberg, this “production leaves the whole audience purring with pleasure” (Times). This is one feel‑good show you won’t want to miss.

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