A year on, and after a partly recast tour, Anything Goes’ SS America drops anchor back in the Barbican and in style. Actually feels even better than before. Aboard are Cole Porter’s champagne rhymes, Kathleen Marshall’s grand direction and peerlessly witty comic choreography, moments of 1930s romantic elegance for those with a tender nature and PG Wodehouse’s high-absurd plot for the rest of us. Last year it loomed out of the grey Covid fog like a sunburst, and had us on our feet. Same again.
’It runs like clockwork’: ANYTHING GOES – Touring ★★★★★
The West End hits central Edinburgh this week, as Cole Porter’s seaborne musical Anything Goes sails into the Festival Theatre for a very limited run until this Sunday.
‘Relentlessly upbeat & cheerful to watch’: ANYTHING GOES (Online review)
Light as a souffle but such a delight. It’s doubtful whether there has ever been a classier bit of froth than this Cole Porter show.
NEWS: Anything Goes sails back to the Barbican in July for an eight-week run
The smash-hit revival of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes is sailing back to London’s Barbican Theatre next summer for an eight-week run from 15 July until 3 September 2022. Casting for the new dates is still to be announced.
‘A ridiculous – & ridiculously enjoyable – show that boasts the finest score in musicals’: ANYTHING GOES – Barbican Theatre
As soon as the title number’s patter chorus kicks in, there’s a smile on every face at the Barbican Centre, where Cole Porter’s Broadway classic Anything Goes runs until 6 November 2021.
‘The roars of joy kept coming’: ANYTHING GOES – Barbican Theatre ★★★★★
In Anything Goes at the Barbican there are celebrity gangsters and torch-singers, big stock-exchange money and big energy, jazzy lapdancers and a touching belief that poor old England is best represented by a silly-ass in tweeds who doesn’t understand words like smooch.
NEWS: Further casting & new schedule is announced for Anything Goes at the Barbican Theatre
Anything Goes will open at London’s Barbican Theatre from 23 July 2021 for a strictly limited 12-week season until 17 October.
NEWS: Will & Grace’s Megan Mullally will make her West End musical debut in Anything Goes opposite Robert Lindsay
Emmy & SAG Award winner Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) will make her West End musical debut as Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes opposite Tony, Olivier & BAFTA Award winner Robert Lindsay as Moonface Martin, running from 8 May 2021 (press night is 20 May) until 22 August at London’s Barbican Theatre.
‘It’s an absolute gift to any actor’: Rebecca Lock plays Lilli in Sheffield Crucible’s Kiss Me, Kate
Fresh from starring as Ms Fleming in Heathers, Rebecca Lock is tackling the tough but exciting role of Lilli in the Sheffield Crucible’s production of Kiss Me, Kate. Rebecca chatted to us all about the show, how Lilli is an ever-relevant character and what people can expect from this new production…
‘A Golden Age feast for the senses’: KISS ME, KATE – West End
In choosing to restore rather than rejuvenate, Opera North has created a genuinely fascinating and faithful window into a bygone era. In doing so, however, they’ve chosen to celebrate the show as an antiquity, rather than drawing on its more timeless qualities.
‘A Wunderbar production’: KISS ME, KATE – West End ★★★
After touring for a while, Opera North’s production of Kiss Me, Kate has slipped into the London Coliseum for a short run which showcases its glorious score and stellar cast.
‘A show of two halves’: KISS ME, KATE – West End ★★★
With the World Cup tournament currently in play, football parlance seems appropriate in describing Opera North’s Kiss Me, Kate, arriving this week for a short stay at London’s Coliseum as a show with two halves.
‘Everything for a superb night at the theatre & then some’: KISS ME, KATE – West End ★★★★★
An impeccable five-star production from Opera North in association with Welsh National Opera. Do not be put off by the word opera this is West End musical theatre at its very, very best.
‘Opera North has a triumph on its hands’: KISS ME, KATE – West End ★★★★
Kiss Me, Kate is full of moments, that remind you of the magic of Cole Porter’s timeless music when performed by a truly remarkable cast and orchestra. Opera North has a triumph on its hands, which will enthral audiences lucky enough to see this classy production.
ANYTHING GOES – Upstairs at the Gatehouse
In quite possibly the finest musical to have been staged at The Gatehouse in recent years, John Plews and his cracking company deliver musical theatre magic in their ambitious staging of Cole Porter’s most famous show, Anything Goes.
THE TIGER LILLIES: LOVE FOR SALE – Soho Theatre
Founded in 1989, dark cabaret act The Tiger Lillies are still going strong. For their current show, in conjunction with Opera North, two of the current members reinterpret Cole Porter songs in a distinctive, understated style.
AMANDA McBROOM – Crazy Coqs
Last night an enthusiastic London audience celebrated the end of the run of an American musical diva born in 1947 whose career has touched millions.
AN EVENING WITH MARIA KESSELMAN – Crazy Coqs
In her one-woman cabaret, Maria Kesselman firmly proves herself to be a force to be reckoned with. A truly seasoned professional, she seamlessly blends an impressive voice and near-perfect technique with an ability to make each and every audience member feel as though they have known her for years.
KISS ME, KATE – Touring
Leeds Grand Theatre, Leeds
Music and lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Bella and Samuel Spewack
Directed by Jo Davies
Quirjin De Lang, Jeni Bern and Company
Opera North, a leading UK arts organisation whose key focus and goal is to ‘actively challenge conventional perceptions of opera’ (as stated in the programme), return to Leeds Grand this Autumn to present their latest season of work, with this new production of Kiss Me, Kate being the first in a diverse line-up.
Kiss Me, Kate tells the story of Fred Graham and Lilli Vanessi, two actors whose tempestuous love lives take centre stage as they perform in a new musical version of The Taming of the Shrew in 1940s Baltimore. Almost fabricated as a play within a play, Kiss Me, Kate takes a different tack to the musical theatre norm and allows the audience to see both the on stage and off stage dramatics and hysteria of the story’s main arc.
Quirijn De Lang and Jeni Bern, the key protagonists, shine in their roles offering the audience a true abundance of wit, charm and delight as they work with an overly complex plot that takes an hour and a half to actually get to the point. Whilst there are some great comedic interludes from Joseph Shovelton and John Savournin as Gunman 1 and Gunman 2, Kiss Me, Kate struggles to sell itself as a piece of high class musical theatre.
With a running time of almost 3 hours, Kiss Me, Kate fails to pack the punch required for such a long piece of theatre, with scenes drawn out for much longer than required. At least half an hour could be trimmed and still allow a piece that could be easily grasped without becoming boring due to a lack of tension, suspense or characters one can truly care for.
Tiffany Graves and Ashley Day feel a tad miscast as the secondary characters Lois Lane and Bill Calhoun – there’s a surprising lack of chemistry between the two and apart from a wonderful, albeit small, comedic moment in Tom, Dick or Harry. Katie Kerr as Hattie seems underused with an absolutely divine voice that opens up the first act in Another Op’nin, Another Show, whilst Claire Pascoe as the Stage Manager is another ensemble member who stands out, grabbing our attention as soon as she walks on stage.
The main saving grace of this production is its music. Superbly conducted by David Charles Abell, Kiss Me, Kate harks back to Musical Theatre’s golden era. The best moments are the ensemble numbers particularly Too Darn Hot the second act opener.
The lighting and set designs for this production are ambitious considering the size of the theatre but Ben Cracknell and Colin Richmond do a remarkable job, providing stunning backdrops that draw the audience in and help sell a flawed story.
Kiss Me, Kate’s lack of purpose and confusing storyline will possibly leave many feeling a little cold and put out. For those Shakespeare aficionados however who fancy seeing something a bit different and unconventional, then it may well prove the perfect night out.
Runs until 31 October and then toursGuest reviewer: Megan Kinsey
PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ – Touring
Puttin’ On The Ritz – which promises to take the audience back to the ‘golden age of Hollywood’ – has the potential to be a hit show. Billed as a ‘song and dance extravaganza’, it plays to the country’s fascination with ballroom dancing (as demonstrated by Strictly Come Dancing) and with the musical genius of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter, whose hits caused many audience members to sing along.
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