Anything Goes - Upstairs at the Gatehouse

  • Theatre
 
Anything Goes - Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Published:

Wed, 28/12/2016 - 16:44

By:

paul
The cast of Anything Goes
The cast of Anything Goes
Published: 
28 December, 2016
by RICHARD OSLEY

AS the song goes: Good authors, too, who once knew better words now only use four-letter words, writing prose... anything goes. So how about good, cool and sexy for this production of Cole Porter’s masterpiece?

Actually, none of those four-letter labels really do the performances here justice, what we really get is, to half-quote another of Porter’s playful lyrics, not only delicious and de-lovely, it’s de-marvellous too. 

It’s all lovingly put together by director John Plews, who with his wife Katie runs the theatre. Together they have a reputation for staging Christmas musicals as the perfect antidote to the bore of the festive pantomime season. 

That’s not to say the story isn’t implausibly hokey or there isn’t a cartoonish element to the characters; maybe a skit with a Chinese laundry worker slightly stretches things. But there’s never a “he’s behind you” if you buy a ticket here, instead, there’s fun in the one-liners and the quick changes made by the de-fabulous Jack McCann as Billy Crocker, the stowaway on board the transatlantic cruiser SS American raiding the costume cupboard for one disguise after another. 

The runaround plot sounds more complicated than it is, but Billy is looking to win the heart of Hope Harcourt up in the posh cabins as her marriage to pompous Lord Evelyn Oakleigh draws as close as the boat does to England. Some of the best scenes, however, involve Evelyn (Jack Keane), as he in turn is seduced by celebrity singer-turned-evangelist, Reno Sweeney.

And it’s Taryn Erickson as Reno who sends you home full up and contented. It’s true all the best songs, the best set pieces, fall her way, but she accepts the invitation to deliver them with a five-star performance, dishing out the title number at the end of the first half, a thunderous rendition of Blow Gabriel Blow, Take Me Back To Manhattan (sadly omitted from other productions) and part of You’re The Top to perfection. Throw in some tap, a fair ration of jazz hands, a shipshape live band and we’re onto a winner. 

UNTIL JANUARY 29, 2017
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