Touring – reviewed at the Palace Theatre, Manchester (Barbican Theatre, London – 25 June to 3 September 2022)
Guest reviewer: Rebecca Hampson
With a 50-strong diverse cast of incredible talent, this musical is not one to miss. Featuring Oliver Award-winning talent in the form of Denis Lawson and Simon Callow, as well as musical theatre royalty such as Kerry Ellis and Bonnie Langford, this energising performance of Anything Goes offers spectacle and wonder in every musical number.
The standout performance of the night is seen in the impeccable number of ‘Anything Goes’ where director and choreographer Kathleen Marshall’s vision shines bright with exceptional timing and staging as well as a delectable lighting design by Hugh Vanstone.
Ellis as Reno is spectacular in ‘Friendship’ alongside Lawson as Moonface Martin. The chemistry between the two actors is mesmerising and offers a comedic element through their rivalry for the spotlight. I particularly enjoyed a moment where the two actors broke the fourth wall mid-song, addressing the audience and allowing us to feel involved in the performance.
Samuel Edwards is fantastic as Billy Crocker, his vocals especially outstanding in the number ‘Easy to Love’ alongside Hope Harcourt played by Nicole-Lily Baisden. This beautifully lit number shows chemistry and desire between the two characters who long to be with one another.
The audience and I enjoyed a comedic moment from Langford as Evangeline Harcourt as her character met Edwards as Billy in disguise. Billy tells her the ship is sinking and the melodrama that follows provides a light-hearted beat as we see Harcourt drape pearls over her shoulder in a panic. This allows us as an audience to fall more in love with Billy in his mission to win over Hope.
Special mention must go to the behind-the-scenes creatives and especially lighting designer Vanstone for the spectacular use of colour and gobos which created the illusion of water placing the audience on board the ship amongst the actors. Notable mention must also go to costumer designer Jon Morrell for the exquisite take on 1930s fashion which is complemented with set design by Derek McLane.
Amongst Theatre Royalty the star of the show in my eyes was Carly Mercedes Dyer as Erma who delighted the audience with her spectacular vocals in ‘Buddie, Beware’. Her charisma and talent radiated off the stage and the audience and I were enchanted by her.
Running in Manchester until June 18th this is one musical you do not want to miss!
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