Anything Goes, Barbican Theatre
Sunday 22nd August, 2.30pm
I cannot begin to explain how good it feels to be back in theatres and reviewing shows again. And if you want something spectacular to welcome you back to the theatre, you could not ask for better than Anything Goes, currently playing at the Barbican Theatre.
The show recently opened to rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, and, spoiler alert, I’m about to join the long list of people desperately seeking words to describe how phenomenal this show really is.
Anything Goes takes the audience on a mad-cap journey aboard the SS American, along with a cast of weird and wonderful characters who find themselves wrapped up in increasingly ridiculous events. And what a cast it was.
Let’s get it out of the way, shall we? Sutton Foster plays Reno Sweeney. Sutton Foster, Broadway legend, who’s portrayed more fabulous roles than I could possibly remember. That Sutton Foster stood on a stage roughly six feet away from me and performed the role that won her a Tony back in 2011. Starstuck, who me?
Foster’s Reno was elegant, sophisticated and witty with just a hint of vulnerability. Her singing with sublime, her dancing was dazzling , her comedic timing was on point… oh heck, she was practically perfect in every way open ( oops – wrong show!).
To be perfectly honest it was an honour and a privilege to even be in the same room as Ms Foster and watch her work her magic on the stage. She had the entire audience completely in awe and I’m pretty sure that even if I live to be one hundred years old, I will be hard pressed to find another performance to compare.
Sutton Foster wasn’t the only big name draw in this production. though. The cast list also boasted Robert Lindsay as Moonface Martin, our loveable gangster, Felicity Kendall as the pampered Mrs Evangeline Harcourt and Gary Wilmot as Wall Street Banker, Elisha J Whitney. All three of these performers were consummate professionals in their craft. Every moment they were on stage was magical, and they made it look so easy to boot!
But now I feel guilty because although there were definitely some big names up on the posters, the talent absolutely didn’t end there. This was the cast list that just kept on giving.
Our leading man, Billy Crocker, was played by Samuel Edwards who positively oozed with all that “Crocker confidence” and swept the entire audience off their feet. Whether in his broad comedy moments, or his romantic encounters with Hope, his performance was assured and polished and I will certainly be keeping tabs on his career in the future. Definitely one to watch out for.
Nicole-Lily Baisden looked, danced and sounded like a Disney Princess as Billy’s love interest, Hope Harcourt. Her rendition of “Goodbye little dream, goodbye” was particularly dreamy. (errr….pun not intended)
Hope’s hapless fiance, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh was played brilliantly (and somewhat bizarrely) by Haydn Oakley. Not usually my favourite character in the show, I was completely won over by Oakley’s endearing performance and I never wanted his hilarious solo number “Gypsy in Me” to end.
Carly Mercedes Dyer very nearly stole the show for me with her delicious performance as the flirty gangster’s girlfriend, Erma. Dyer’s performance was cheeky, giggly and packed with fun. Every single moment she was on stage was electric and she had some of the best one-liner’s in the whole show. Another first class performer that I will definitely be watching out for in future productions.
It would be completely remiss of me to shower praise on this production without mentioning the whole of the fabulous company. With so many stunning performances happening on stage, it was sometimes difficult to remember to take a look around, but every time I did I was delighted to see the company working their socks off to support the principal cast. The group dancing in “Delovely” was stunningly elegant and romantic and I loved listening to the gorgeous harmonies from the Sailors in “There’ll always be a lady fair”
As with the 2011 production, this latest version of Anything Goes was directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, with great style. The direction was slick, with the action flowing between the scenes with never a dull moment. The choreography was a spectacle to behold, especially in the large company numbers. The show-stopping “Anything Goes” was a work of art in itself and is easily one of the most impressive Act 1 closing numbers I have ever seen.
It’s been over 2 weeks since I saw “Anything Goes” (ok, so maybe I’m a little out of practice with this whole review writing thing) and I still cannot stop buzzing over the supreme brilliance of this show. It was a musical feast for the senses. The musical numbers, the comedy, the set design – it was all “De-lovely” (Sorry, I tried SO hard but couldn’t resist.)
Finding a show of this calibre, with this much talent crammed on to one stage is a once-in-a-life time experience which absolutely should not be missed. Tickets at the Barbican are a little like gold dust, so I would highly recommend you snatch one up while you still can. Anything Goes runs until 31st October.