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Guys and Dolls - Theatre Review

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by John Andrew (subscribe)
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Sell the cat, mortgage the kids, and go

The only difficulty in writing a review of Harvest Rain's "Guys and Dolls" is the danger of using too many superlatives.

It was a coup to have Daryl Somers as Nicely Nicely Johnson, and he was superb. Fleet of foot, in an exaggerated fat suit, he lit up the stage and one of the highlights of the evening was his singing and tap-dancing in "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat".

Both leading ladies were wonderful.

Angela Harding, as the "virtuous and beautiful" Salvation Army officer, Sarah Brown, leading a mission to Broadway, who accepts an invitation from Sky Masterton to dinner in Cuba, plays her role magnificently treating her religious role with respect, yet convincingly falling for Sky. Her scene in Cuba, where, after a couple of innocent seeming drinks, she joins in the dance, fights for her man, and falls into his arms, was a delight. Highlight? Her rendition of "If I were a bell I'd be ringing".

Liz Buchanan, as the showgirl, Miss Adelaide, perpetually engaged to be married to Nathan Detroit sings and dances her heart out. In "Adelaide's Lament" she catches perfectly the pathos and the comedy of her love for her never-do-well gambler.

It says here:
The average unmarried female
Basically insecure
Due to some long frustration may react
With psychosomatic symptoms
Difficult to endure
Affecting the upper respiratory tract.

In other words, just from waiting around for that plain little band of gold, a person can develop a cold.

The highlight for both women was undoubtably their duet "Marry the Man Today"

Marry the man today
Give him the girlish laughter
Give him your hand today
And save the fist for after.

Sarah Brown's grandfather, also a Salvation Army member, sees Sarah conflicted and confused by her love for Nathan, and sings

Music I can wish you
Merry music while you're young
And wisdom when your hair has turned to gray.
But More I Cannot Wish You
Than to wish you find your love
Your own true love this day

After that song there was a moment or two of silence, before well deserved thunderous applause. What could have been a quiet interlude became unforgettable.

Which brings us to the leading men. Ian Stenlake, from "Sea Patrol" and "Stingers" as Sky Masterton and Wayne Scott Kermond from "West Side Story" and "HMS Pinafore" as Nathan Detroit. Both play their parts superbly. Highlights? "Luck Be a Lady" and "Sue Me".

Even the smaller parts worked well. Rex Ablett, for instance, as Lieutenant Brannigan played the part convincingly, with hints of Inspector Clouseau and the Keystone cops.

So, take what Time magazine calls "without a doubt the greatest of all American musicals". Add brilliant choreography, achieved in two weeks of rehersal. Mix in a stellar cast, and a very effective orchestra.

It all adds up to one of the best musical theatre evenings Brisbane has seen in years.

Sell the cat, mortgage the kids, and go.
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Why? Simply the best
When: 20 - 23 March
Phone: (07) 3103 7438
Where: QPAC Concert Hall
Cost: $69 - $119
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