Now in its sixteenth year, The Production Company (TPC) have opened their 2014 season bringing Damon Runyan’s New York underworld to life in the classic Broadway musical, Guys and Dolls. With music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, gangsters, gamblers, evangelists and showgirls inhabit this production with solid performances, sparkling costumes, complimented by a lush Broadway score.
Following her success with Gypsy (2013) and Chess (2012), Gale Edwards returns with a trademark no-nonsense style of production, allowing the strength and experience of her performers and creative team to shine through.
Adam Murphy delivers a fine performance as Nathan Detroit, a crap game proprietor, while Chelsea Plumley, once again gives a stand-out performance, as his long suffering fiancée, Miss Adelaide. Verity Hunt-Ballard presents a delightful portrayal as Sarah Brown, the idealistic Salvation Army Missionary, while Martin Crewes is confidently charismatic as gambler, Sky Masterson. Bobby Fox as Nicely-Nicely Johnson was in full swing, especially in Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat, arguably the showstopper of the evening – my only disappointment, we didn’t get a reprise.
Orchestra Victoria delivers a wonderful score under the baton of Guy Simpson, while Nathan M. Wrights choreography was at its sparkly best, highlighting the depth of talent in the ensemble, especially in A Bushel And A Peck, Crapshooters Ballet, and the previously mentioned Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat.
Tim Chappel brings his Academy Award winning style through some spectacular and often hilarious costuming, none more so than the Hot Box Girls in A Bushel And A Peck, while special mention should go to David John Hansen for some simply-stunning millinery. Disappointingly, Shaun Gurton’s settings were just a rehash of his design for Edwards 2012 production of Chess, and an over-sized flashing ‘Guys and Dolls’ sign that was more of a distraction.
But for some misgivings, Guys and Dolls proves for a great nights entertainment, simply because the music and lyrics are so good, combined with some outstanding casting. With five musicals currently playing in Melbourne at the moment, this current production does in general, holds its own.
Guys and Dolls
State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Performance: Saturday 19 July 2014 – 7.30pm
Season continues to 27 July 2014
Bookings: 1300 182 183 or online at: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au
For more information, visit: www.theproductioncompany.com.au for details.
Image: Chelsea Plumley and the Hot Box Girls in Guys and Dolls – photo by Jeff Busby
Review: Rohan Shearn