Thursday, 21 July 2016

Guys and Dolls | Phoenix Theatre

Guys and Dolls is a musical I hold very close to my heart having seen some of my best friends perform in a school production of the show a few years ago, so when I saw it was returning to the West End stage, I knew it was something I needed to see. Even more thrilling was the announcement that Rebel Wilson (star of the Pitch Perfect film franchise among other projects) was joining the cast as Miss Adelaide. The chance to see such a modern comedic actress in such an iconic role was an opportunity I just couldn't pass up so as I settled into my seat for the show it's fair to say I was very excited for what was to come.

From the first bar, Frank Loesser's score filled the auditorium with a lively atmosphere and set the scene in the hubbub of New York City. The laughs came thick and fast with all members of the cast embodying their characters clearly and effortlessly. I found that Siubhan Harrison as Sarah Brown and Oliver Tompsett as Sky Masterson had immediate chemistry from their first scene together, not only in their speech but their voices blended beautifully making their duet, 'I've Never Been in Love Before', one of the highlights of the show for me. My favourite song from the musical, 'Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat', was superbly performed by Gavin Spokes and cast. It was such a fun and lively number and I think it's fair to say that the rest of the audience agreed and the cheers and applause just went on and on after this number. Simon Lipkin as gambler Nathan Detroit was quick witted and lovable despite his character's flaws and managed to hold his own against the whirlwind that was Rebel Wilson.

Prior to seeing the production I'd read many reviews of the show so thought I had a feel for it's style and tone. Nothing however could have fully prepared me to see Wilson's interpretation of Miss Adelaide. She was bold and brash, using a lot of physical comedy that had me in stitches. Although at times I struggled a little to understand her accent (an Australian actress doing  'New Yorker with a cold') but this was forgiven as she played the role with immense confidence and snatched the audience's attention in all her scenes. That said, she managed to portray the tender sides of her character, particularly in the second act of the show and she also proved that she really can sing. Her duet with Sarah Brown at the end of Act 2 fully deserved the rapturous applause it received. I can see why perhaps some fans of the classic musical may not love this interpretation of the character as I've never seen an Adelaide played so brashly before, but personally I loved it.

Overall the show really made for a great night out. The choreography was fast-paced and slick and the costumes really grabbed your attention. It's a perfect example of a classic musical but with a bit of a modern twist and I highly recommend it. Rebel Wilson is staying with the cast until the 21st August but the show is set to run until October and you can find tickets here. If you're unable to get to London to see the show however you're in luck as a touring version of the show starring Richard Fleeshman and Louise Dearman is currently making it's way around the UK. This week it's actually at my local, the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre (tickets here), before moving on and you can find all the details here.


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