Guys and Dolls
25th - 30th April 2022
Considered by many to be the perfect musical comedy, Guys and Dolls is based on the tales of Damon Runyan and set in 1950s New York.
Gambler Nathan Detroit is trying to set up the biggest craps game in New York, while avoiding the authorities and his long-time fiancee, Miss Adelaide. Fellow gambler Sky Masterson might help, but he's got his eye on straight-laced missionary, Sarah Brown. Packed with great tunes, including "Luck Be A Lady Tonight", "A Bushel And A Peck" and "Sit Down, You're Rockin' The Boat", Guys and Dolls is a toe-tapping treat.
|Musical Director||Tim Power|
|Assistant Musical Director||Tom Bowes|
|Nicely Nicely Johnson||Joe Davies|
|Benny Southstreet||Alan Moss|
|Rusty Charlie||David Witt|
|Sarah Brown||Adrienne Wormald|
|Arvide Abernathy||David Reeves|
|Harry the Horse||Keith Shatwell|
|Lt Brannigan||Robert Peters|
|Nathan Detroit||David Wilson|
|Miss Adelaide||Vicki Wilson|
|Sky Masterson||Steve Benson|
|General Matilda B Cartwright||Julie Ogden|
|Big Jule||Carl Bottomley|
|Hot Box Girls|
|Lauren de Jager, Nina Dickinson, Teresa Harper, Kathryn Nuttall, Janet Richardson, Nicola Shallicker|
|Bev Charlson, Gill Clough, Linda Hardy, Dorothy Jones, Barbara Martin, David McGreavey, Maria Sharrocks, Janet Smith|
Photographs by John Tustin & Katie Ball
Reviews and articles
Guys and Dolls is one of those musicals that still has staying power and I had forgotten just how many well-known tunes were in it including ‘Luck Be A Lady Tonight', 'Sit Down You're Rocking The Boat' and 'If I Were A Bell' to name a few. For those who don’t know, the story is about Nathan Detroit an organiser of an illegal crap game in New York. With the cops on his trail, Detroit must find a new venue for his game and needs some capital to pay for it. So, he makes a bet with master gambler Sky Masterson that he cannot make the next girl he sees fall in love with him. The very next girl just happens to be Miss Sarah Brown, the leader of a local Salvation Army reform group and without giving too much away, Sky falls in love with Sarah.
This production was due to happen in early 2020 but a certain pandemic got in the way. However, Director Nora Howcroft, Musical Director Tim Power (assisted by Tom Bowes) and Choreographer Lara Sydall have put together a toe tapping show that was worth the wait.
Steve Benson as the cool Sky Masterson was excellent as was Adrienne Wormald as Sarah Brown – their number ‘I’ll know’ was one of the show's highlights.
David Wilson as Nathan Detroit was excellent, providing a more comical version of the character than I’d seen before which worked well against Vicki Wilson as the marvellous Miss Adelaide. Great performances from them both.
Joe Davies as Nicely-Nicely was in great voice and provided us with another high point, the ever-popular 'Sit Down You're Rocking The Boat' - wonderful performance.
Alan Moss as Benny, David Witt as Rusty, David Reeves as Arvide, Keith Shatwell as Harry, Robert Peters as Brannigan, Carl Bottomley as Big Jule, Eileen Reeves as Agatha, Julie Ogden as Cartwright and Theresa Harper as Mimi all gave great support as did every member of the supporting cast and company.
It’s good to have live local theatre back so if you fancy a show to get those toes tapping, then get down to Walmsley Church Hall.
Runs until Saturday
Like quite a few societies Walmsley CAODS were weeks away from putting on this show Guys and Dolls . . . and two years later here we are. Nora Howcroft the Chairman and Director says in her programme notes they have a renewed energy, excitement and yearning to perform and it showed.
Guys and Dolls was taken from Damon Runyon’s short stories about gangsters, gamblers and the underworld of New York and turned into this well-loved musical. Music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. Nearly every number you remember and remember the words (or is that just me?), I did hear people singing along, so maybe not.
Opening with skyline backdrop and on the apron is the newsstand stage left that turned around to be used when in Havana and stage right is Miss Adelaide’s dressing room. The scenes looked good and the backdrop in the sewer was effective - lighting added to this. Stage Manager was John West. Stage crew were Anne Cocking, Brian Craven, Nora Howcroft, Dave McGreavy, Gill Pollitt, Zoe Pollitt and Linda West and Lighting Norman Bowers and John Cocking. Sound was natural and unobtrusive by Lea Royce and Elodie Perrier. Costume complemented the characters - wardrobe by Mary Pycroft. Choreographer was Lara Syddall - it was a good idea to use the dancers as the gamblers in the crap game as this added to the numbers. I think sometimes choreographers can try to be gimmicky or too complicated, but Lara knows her cast and what works is that all know what they are doing and move as one.
Musical Director was Tim Power and Assistant Musical Director is Tom Bowes who had obviously worked hard - a lovely sound emanated from the stage - well done!
Robert Peters was Lt Brannigan, Carl Bottomley was Big Jule, Keith Shatwell was Harry the Horse, Eileen Reeves was Agatha, Julie Ogden was General Cartwright, Teresa Harper was Mimi and David Witt was Rusty Charlie added to the supporting cast. David Reeves playing Arvide More I Cannot Wish You was a delight - all I can say it was like a warm hug – lovely! Joe Davies as Nicely-Nicely was a delight and appeared to work his way through a veg shop - munching on various vegetables through the show. Leading Sit Down, Your Rocking the Boat he was brilliant and his comic timing great and working well with Alan Moss as Benny - loved Guys and Dolls - great work!
Husband and wife take on the roles of Nathan Detroit played by David Wilson and Miss Adelaide played by Vicki Wilson. What fun they must have had doing these two characters. David bringing a comedy to the role I have not seen before. Vicki as the ever-hopeful Miss Adelaide. Lovely numbers with the Hot Box Girls and loved her Marry the Man Today with Sarah Brown. Sarah was played by Adrienne Wormald who gave a lovely considered performance as the girl who just wants to do right and help people but is in love with the man who is not her ideal choice. She had great chemistry on stage with Sky.
Great casting as Sky was Steve Benson as if the part was meant for him - his swagger and charisma on stage were just right. I’ll Know with Adrienne was just lovely. Steve was in fine voice - well played! Congratulation to the Committee, Cast and Crew on the staging of Guys and Dolls.
Thank you for the invite and hospitality from my guest and I.