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Advertiser 23 February 2007
WICKERSLEY Operatic Society brings a fair slice of
Broadway spectacle and panache to Rotherham Civic
Theatre this week with their version of Guys and Dolls.
American musical—legendary or not—is to my taste, but
this one, and their take on it, make it very hard to be
plenty of juicy, larger-than-life characters to
challenge the performers—in this show heavily weighted
to the fellas—and a gaming table full of songs that,
even if they are not all great, largely are memorable.
always strike me as busting to achieve—even though odd
times over recent years I have questioned choice of
production and casting—but one thing there can be little
doubt about is that everyone gives their best and, in
some cases, that is highly impressive.
Dee Bennie-Marshall is both stage and dance director and
again she is to be congratulated on her work and
background is dance—and her distinctive style shines
through the full company and ensemble routines—but her
staging and demands for pace in the dialogue scenes show
an insightful appreciation of the fuller stage picture.
setting is predominately the same—made by a professional
company—it was a pleasant change to view a musical
production which isn't a constant round of curtain
closures, scenery changes and general hurly burly.
costumes too, rightly deserve a mention, colourful and
with a just-out-of-the-box look and the orchestra—MD is
Heather Matthews—create a quality of sound which is not
always heard at the Civic.
The guys are
New York professional gamblers and the lead dolls, two
very different females—Miss Adelaide Adams, the
long-suffering fiancee of floating crap game hustler
Nathan Detroit, and Sergeant Sarah Brown, a leading
light at the Save a Soul Mission.
Morrell has been coaxed out of his "resting" period to
play the devious Detroit, who has been engaged to
Adelaide for 14 years.
but warmly engaging too, and Steve captures much of the
humour his character offers.
Jude Grey is
superb as the screeching, prone-to-colds, neglected
ungainly, she obviously has a gift for comedy which
complements her more dramatic qualities for which I know
her the best.
McVeigh—wobbling to great effect in his fat suit—is
excellent again as Detroit's sidekick, Nicely-Nicely
Johnson, both vocally and in his acting.
White, substantially younger than his character Big Jule,
adopts a from-the-boots gruffness which can't be doing
his throat any good at all and Brian Gent's portrayal
suggests that this Harry the Horse has spent some time
in South Yorkshire.
highlight is the dance cameo from Alisha Flintham (Lola)
and Jordan Hinchliffe (Manalo)—choreographed by Kirstie
Bennie—as they take centre stage in a dive in Havana
which lit up the Civic stage.
On the night
I attended there was an attempted cover-up of a delayed
entrance by Detroit due to a tight costume change prior
to his long-awaited wedding, but overall there appeared
to be few glitches.
Amid all the
more celebrated songs, I have always liked the beautiful
low-key number, More I Cannot Wish You, and here Alan
Thompson's (Arvide Abernathy) delivery didn't change my
Taylor plays the laid-back, upmarket gambler, Sky
Masterson, who eventually wins the heart of Sarah, and
his interpretation early on was certainly that, and for
me, dangerously so.
forceful later playing was excellent, as it needed to
be, because Carol Capell's Sarah is highly impressive.
maker with Wickersley, but with lots of experience of
leading roles elsewhere, she has an unforced presence
which commands the stage and, together with a fine
voice, she is one classy act.
line is Wickersley perform their hearts out—and it
Guys and Dolls continues until tomorrow, with a matinee