Cole porter’s Anything Goes sailed into York’s Theatre Royal from 8-19th February, stowing away laughs and real talent on-board the production. The show is one of his many masterpieces; his most acclaimed work includes the musical comedy Kiss Me, Kate, and songs such as I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Night and Day and I Get a Kick Out of You, the latter two of which were written for Anything Goes.
Those fortunate enough to have seen the excellent revival of Cole Porter’s hit musical in London recently, will not have been disappointed with the York Light Opera Company’s version. The 1930’s musical, which is comprised of the scrapes and scandals of a love-sick stowaway, a goofy English lord, a gangster-comepriest with an inferiority complex, many other period characters and, most importantly, Porter’s inimitable music, is an ambitious production for a light-operatics company.
The energy and irony of the music and script were realised with the ease and self-assurance such a musical demands. The show began with a slick orchestration of the overture. This high musical standard continued throughout the show; the band and singers gave impeccable and energetic performances from start to finish.
Of the particularly humorous characters, Moonface Martin (Rory Mulvihill) gave a notably self-assured and unreserved performance, getting some of the biggest laughs of the evening for his rendition of ‘Bluebird’. Billy Crocker (played by Darren Tong) and Reno Sweeney (Julie-Anne Smith) undoubtedly carried the show with talent adorned in gleaming thirties glamour. The original book that inspired the musical was written by PG Woodhouse. Bertie Wooster has certainly had an influence on the creation of one character in particular; Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, played by Martin Richardson, at moments stole the show, in a way perhaps only possible in an English production. His impeccable Received Pronunciation and incredulity at another culture, laughable in themselves, made his moment of confession about his ‘gypsy’ inclinations almost unbearably funny.
The final word must be given to the only non-human in the cast, the little dog brought onstage presumably to provide extra amusement for the younger members of the audience, but appealing also to the not-so-young. He played his part terrifically; thankfully his was not a speaking role. Though appearing to be somewhat scared and perhaps needing to pee, in the firm hands of his mistress, he kept in doggy character throughout.
The production was polished and very enjoyable; what it lacked as an amateur production, it made up for in its particularly self-aware, light hearted style and slick pace. Look out for The York Light Opera Company’s future productions, they come back every year and if
Anything Goes is in fact anything to go by then you won’t want to miss out on the fun.