Review from the Theatre: Anything Goes

Chris High reviews Anything Goes on

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Chris High reviews: Anything Goes live' 2006

Anything Goes

Michael Starke, Ria Jones, Chris Ellis- Stanton, Sandra Dickenson,
Ashley Lilley, Barry Howard, Dawn Spence, Antony Reed
Music and lyrics by: Cole Porter
Directed by: Ian Talbot
Musical Supervisor: James Dunsmore
Choreographer: Bill Deamer

Anything Goes 2006: promotional image


When you know that you are going to see a show that has music and lyrics by Cole Porter you expect to be entertained, and Director Ian Talbot in this version of Anything Goes does not let the audience down. After a slow start, as the scene was set and the characters were introduced, we were De-lighted to be taken on a voyage aboard the S.S. American. This particular journey stop at ports such as, You’re the Top, I Get A Kick Out Of You, Friendship and of course It’s De-lovely, along with the shows title song, Anything Goes.

Musically the production was an absolute treat and praise must be given to James Dunsmore and the band for a blissfully faultless performance. The musicians are often the unsung heroes of shows where the actors often take the plaudits, so credit where its due, as it should be also to Bill Deamer, the show’s choreographer. There were a number of excellent dance routines throughout, but the most memorable came just before and just after the interval, where the choreography during Anything Goes and Blow Gabriel Blow must have taken hours of rehearsal.

As for the singing, well, where to start?

Stealing the show with a superb vocal performance was Ria Jones in her role as Reno Sweeney. Her experience in such shows as; High Society, Cats and Evita shone through in everything she did; not only with her singing but in her acting as well. Supported fabulously by Chris Ellis-Stanton who played Billy Crocker, who could not only sing with the best of them, the lad can also dance, Dawn Spence (Erma) playing the ‘Tart with a Heart’ and Ashley Lilley (Hope Harcourt) playing Billy’s true love, both demonstrated their vast range of abilities indicating they both have bright futures ahead of them in the theatre.

Sandra Dickinson (Evangeline Harcourt) played a rather subdued yet important role as Hope’s mother. Gone is the nasally, blonde, dizzy girl with wide eyes and quizzical look. Instead here is a lady with grace and elegance that is all the more pleasing.

Barry Howard (Elisha Whitney) played the drunk with aplomb. Some of the other scenes were stolen by an excellent performance by Antony Reed, playing the bumbling Lord Evelyn Oakley, and showing a clean pair of heels in his dancing to The Gypsy In Me, whilst having to pretend to make mistakes in his routine, which he did extremely well.
But on to the star of the show. Some may argue that we in Liverpool wear rose tinted glasses when looking at one of our own, and that may be true on occasions, BUT on this occasion I beg to differ. Michael Starke in his role as Moonface Martin literally stole the limelight. Every time he appeared on stage faces lit up in the audience as he delivered a comedic performance par excellence. Yes, it had a bit of the Lou Costello’s about it, but he received the biggest laughs, but also showed he can dance a bit and surprised some by being able to hold his own whilst singing. Okay, they were comedic type songs and he will never play a lead singing role in a musical, but he can carry a tune out there on his own. His performance of Be Like The Blue Bird highlighted this and it was superb.

A fantastic night, enjoyed by all, who came on this wet and windy May night.

Reviewed By Martin Maloney


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