Review: Guys and Dolls (UK Tour) – Mayflower Theatre, Southampton (21/05/16)

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Photo Credit: Paul Coltas

Upon finding out this well-known musical was touring near me, I knew it was something I wanted to see. Before attending, I had no knowledge prior! Guys and Dolls is a musical romantic comedy, where the unlikeliest of people fall in love. The story itself is about Nathan Detroit, who needs a venue for his illegal floating crap game. In order to find somewhere, he needs money. He bets with Sky Masterson that he cannot take Sarah Brown (missionary), to Cuba for dinner, since it is seen as impossible. During the bet, they both start to fall for each other despite the problems they have on the way.

At the start, I felt lost and confused by the storyline. Although this was due to my lack of prior knowledge, I felt that it could have been more informative. The pace though was very good. Nathan Detroit (Maxwell Caulfield) was a sneaky, deceiving yet likeable character, offering a lot of depth to the story. Although he was played very well, I found myself thinking about the other characters far more in the end.

Miss Adelaide (Lucy Jane Adcock) was different. Being engaged to Nathan for 14 years probably said enough, but was, at times, both annoying and comical, with moments of what can be considered as a female stereotype (quick changes between anger and forgiveness etc), not that I am saying these are true! But then this was Adelaide! Seeing her role increase in depth was great and with time, you respected her more.

Sarah Brown (Anna O’Byrne) was the star of the show! Her vocals, although not what I was expecting, were flawless! Being a missionary, she had very strict morals for herself. When her mission was not going to plan, she let her hair and went to Havana with Sky, where you saw a completely new side of her. This was great for the audience as you saw her come of her shell. It was portrayed perfectly! Sky Masterson (Richard Fleeshman) was a wealthy gambler who, with time, you find out is more of a romantic than expected when he fell for Sarah, which was evident when revealing his real name to her!

Nicely-Nicely Johnson (Jack Edwards) and Lieutenant Brannigan (Anthony McGill) both brought a lot of heart and soul to the show, which made a huge impact! The ensemble were fantastic! The shear amount of energy required was staggering especially with acrobatic-like routines. I am not normally someone to notice choreography, but throughout I was left in disarray! It was exquisite!

When Sky and Sarah jet off to Havana, it brought a nice change of scenery and even dance routines! It was here the romance began! The love story was my favourite part of the show! They were unlikely lovers, but it proved that love happens in mysterious ways! When she found out this was all about a bet, she was convinced it was wrong and backed off. When Sky proved his love, you felt such warmth and, of course, a cheeky smile! Their passion was exhilarating!

The pit band were absolutely phenomenal and at the end, the musical director (Andy Massey) was presented to the audience. It was nice to see the pit band given their rightful recognition. With the songs in general, I left the theatre with nothing playing in my head, which was strange. They were certainly good, but not as appealing to me as other musicals. The show ended on two marriages: one being Sarah and Sky and the other Nathan and Adelaide. It was the perfect ending, which meant I was smiling for what seemed to be a disturbing amount of time!

Guys and Dolls is a fantastic musical that offers a huge amount of romance and humour, which is very appealing. The cast were terrific and there was never a point where I could not feel the emotions! Although the songs may not have quite been for me, they were still very enjoyable! It finished in the way you wanted, with happiness! There was never a boring moment!

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