Review: Anything Goes, by Sidmouth Musical Theatre

Anything Goes by Sidmouth Musical Theatre. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Anything Goes by Sidmouth Musical Theatre. Picture: Alex Walton Photography - Credit: Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Don’t miss the boat - a ‘delightful, delicious and de-lovely’ production of Anything Goes at the Manor Pavilion Theatre

Sidmouth Musical Theatre certainly made for a “humdinger” of a voyage to the delight of the first-night audience on Saturday, April 20, with the opening of Anything Goes, its Easter production at the Manor Pavilion Theatre.

Nightclub singer and evangelist Reno Sweeny is aboard the ocean liner SS American en route from New York to London with her stowaway chum Billy Crocker.

Billy is in pursuit of his new love, debutante Hope Harcourt who is, unfortunately, engaged to wealthy Englishman Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, and when “Public Enemy No 13” Moonface Martin and his “mobster moll” sidekick Erma Latour join the ship, mayhem, confusion and good old-fashioned blackmail ensue.

Emma Bateman simply smouldered as Reno, bringing a perfect blend of sultriness and empathy to the role, and Jake Burlow gave an endearing and mature performance as Billy, skilfully switching between his various duplicitous identities.

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Anita Tipping was just right as flighty “broad” Erma – you could almost taste the chewing–gum - and Martin J Kingston was perfect as Moonface – always with his eye on the main chance and his “violin” case. Vicky Evans played a lovely and forlorn Hope, torn between saving the family finances and her feelings for Billy, and Adam Owen-Jones pitched it just right as Lord Evelyn – his “Gypsy” song and dance routine was a “tour de force”.

The principals were well supported by Selwyn Kussman as Billy’s boss Elisha Whitney, Debbie Broome as Hope’s ambitious mother (attached at all times to a realistic looking Pekinese dog), Andy Padmore as the Captain, Brian Rees the Purser, and fun cameos from Kathy McLauchlan and Geoff Ward as John and Luke, but rather more like “Ping and Pong”, and an energetic company of passengers and crew.

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Director Nigel Broome steered a steady course, on a clever set designed with Tim Pink, in this foot-tapping musical with the “delightful and delicious” music and lyrics of Cole Porter. Experienced musical director John Griswold “fired up” the musical engine-room, choreographer Vicky Evans created some “first class” routines, and the costumes were de-lovely! Anything Goes runs until Saturday night, so there’s still time to catch the boat!


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