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23rd November 2015

Review: Guys and Dolls

With a cast and orchestra made up of over 40 members, Gordon Greenberg’s Guys and Dolls comes to Manchester’s Palace Theatre

Set in the exciting underworld of 1940s New York, Guys and Dolls is the classic tale of gangsters, gamblers and nightclub singers. Direct from the West End, this whimsical revival brings a newfound thrill to this golden-age musical.

The show follows the gambling adventures of notorious Sky Masterson, dice game arranger Nathan Detroit, and their dolls, feisty missionary Sarah Brown, and nightclub singer Miss Adelaide.

Sophie Thompson leads the diverse, strong cast, with her comic delivery of showgirl Miss Adelaide. Her amusing portrayal of the ditzy character brings moments of the show to life that should otherwise go unnoticed. Playing alongside David Haig as the unsettled Nathan Detroit, the altercations between the pair are delightfully amusing.

Equally as comical is the unconventional duo of Gavin Spokes and Ian Hughes as Nicely-Nicely Johnson and Benny Southstreet. Faultless harmony and exquisite comic timing left these characters adored throughout. Energetically and humorously fronted by Spokes, the brilliantly clever feature number ‘Sit Down you’re Rockin’ the Boat’ was a highlight of the production.

However, the most outstanding performance unquestionably lies with Jamie Parker for his heartfelt representation of the audacious Sky Masterson. Bringing a unique innocence to the role, Parker delighted the audience with his timeless voice, reminiscent of the classic 1950s musical film. His impeccable rendition of the famous ‘Luck be a Lady’ enlivened the audience, and his amorous performance of ‘I’ve Never Been in Love Before’, in duet with Siubhan Harrison as Sarah Brown, was endearing.

The dazzling artistic choreography of world-renowned Carlos Acosta and Andrew Wright uplifts the at-times slow storyline, markedly portraying the infamous Havana and Crap game scenes in an impressively imaginative and extravagant fashion. A special mention must go to the incredibly sharp chorus for their energetic presentation of the challenging balletic choreography.

There are still stagnant sections of diaglogue at times; however, this is most definitely down to the original script, not the production. The impressive choreorgraphy, refreshing new set design, and clever direction from Gordon Greenberg have together transformed and uplifted this classic musical.

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