Guys and Dolls, Edinburgh Playhouse, Review

Rating
4
Show details
Company
Chichester Festival Theatre
Production
Frank Loesser (Music and Lyrics), Abe Burrows (Book), Gordon Greenberg (Director), Peter McKintosh (Set and Costume Designer), Carlos Acosta (Choreographer), Andrew Wright (Choreographer), Gareth Valentine (Musical Supervisor), Andy Massey (Musical Director), Tim Mitchell (Lighting Designer)
Performers
Richard Fleeshman (Sky Masterson), Maxwell Caulifield (Nathan Detroit) Louise Dearman (Miss Adelaide), Anna O'Byrne (Sarah Brown), Jack Edwards (Nicely- Nicely Johnson), Mark Sangster (Benny Southstreet), Peter Harding (Arvide Abernathy), Cameron Johnson (Big Jule)
Running time
165mins

Guys - find your fedoras, and dolls - get your garters out, as Frank Loessers bold and brash adaptation hits the Edinburgh leg of its tour. Complete with bright lights, brave choreography and a beguiling quartet of leads, this production of Guys and Dolls is a still a worthwhile frontrunner.

Stirring though the bustling streets of New York, a cohort of thrill hungry gamblers attempt to roll their di and come up trumps but for one particular guy, Sky Masterson (Richard Fleeshman), a frivolous bet wins him more than he bargained for.

Placing $1,000 on obtaining a date with the innocent and ecclesiastic Sarah Brown (Anna O’Byrne) this crap-shooting sinner proves that he always keeps his side of the bargain.

Paralleling the blossoming young romance is the long winded, 14-year engagement of Nathan Detroit (Maxwell Caulifield) and the ever-bubbly Miss Adelaide (Louise Dearman) who despite spinning a 12-year yarn, heavily littered with offspring, to her mother is yet to drag her money hungry man down the aisle.

Booming with big band numbers, Loesser’s music instantly captivates under the change of Andy Massey’s musical direction especially during group numbers such as “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” and the feminism fueled “Take Back Your Mink”. Although some of the better known numbers were lost to poor sound quality, particularly Sky’s “Luck Be a Lady” the ensemble came in note perfect from start to finish.

Rolling win after win, the duo of courting couples offered top notch performances throughout, with their perfect embodiment of character acting only as a bonus to their exceptional vocal skills. Dearman’s suffering yet smitten fiancé coaxes laugh after laugh, relieving the drag of the lengthy first act with “Adelaide’s Lament”.

The unexpected boom of light and colour during the opening number stuns the audience but can’t prepare them for the vibrant visuals that follow as a result of designers Peter McKintosh and Tim Mitchell’s excitingly lit, but encroachingly oversized, Broadway bill board set which appears to take up more of the stage than the actors.

As a product of the post war era, Damon Runyon’s fun and fancy stories were flawlessly fashioned into an uplifting evening of entertainment which, in the hands of director Gordon Greenberg, is still a gamble sure to pay off.

Til 16th at Edinburgh Playhouse. 7-11 June, Kings Theatre in Glasgow