You forget just how good the Golden Age of Musical Theatre is when you are saturated by contemporary shows in today's evolving Theatre World. Tonight, however, The Production Company's revival of Cole Porter's Anything Goes reminds us of how the foundations of the modern musical were formed and just how strong these foundations were. Anything Goes is a show filled with moments. Moments of love, moments of hilarity, family and comradeship all of which crescendo towards the happy ever after that we are longing for. To get there however, takes great skill. Enter the cast. An all-star cast of Australian musical Theatre royalty is at hand to land each and every one of the desired moments. Todd Mckenny's over-enthusiastic Lord Evelyn Oakleigh is so completely embodied that an initial feeling of 'too much' is soon proven to be a whole heartedly secure character choice. Wayne Scott Kermond as Moonface Martin was dynamic, and full of tricks that had the audience craving more. Further, John O'May and Anne Wood as Elisha Whitney and Evageline Harcourt compliment the show with their experience and poise.
It is however, the rising talent on display that are the heart of this show. Christie Whelan's Erma could be described as nothing else other than an absolute knockout, Christy Sullivan's Hope Harcourt was fresh and refined and Amanda Harrison's performance as Reno Sweeney had star quality written all over it. Her rendition of Blow Gabriel Blow was one of the nights highlights. Alex Rathgaber, as Billy Crocker, however, is the nights main attraction. His performance was vocally faultless. Rathgaber's rendition of Easy To Love had the audience audibly gasping and the effortlessness with which he traversed Porter's score was truly something special to witness.
If the best thing about the show was its cast, its biggest weakness was without doubt its production value. One set and limited costume changes left the show visually crippled, increasing the task of the cast to deliver on expectations. In this case they alone were enough. With a lesser cast it would not have been the case.
The Orchestra Victoria under the direction of Peter Casey sounded magnificent and full, at times however, far outweighing the performers in pure volume with the overall balance needing to be reworked.
Andrew Hallsworth and Dean Bryant's direction was, for the most part, effective. Though, it was Hallsworth's choreography that really shone. It had a precision and crispness that enhanced the story and was a delight to view. Like so many top shows, simple poignant choreography is a most effective devise and Hallswoth employs this theory in Anything Goes. The same can't always be said for the direction. It's not enough for ensemble sailors to meander onstage providing beautiful backing vocals, to then, at their conclusion, simply vanish without any real reason or action for being there. An incorporation of these elements in specific moments would have given a greater purpose to the development of the story.
A brilliant cast with a timeless piece of theatre is a recipe for a highly successful show and The Production Company's version of Anything Goes doesn't disappoint and ensures that Porters masterwork lingers in our memory for many a year to come.
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Past Articles by This Author:
Tim Carney graduated from Lasalle College of the Arts Singapore with a
Bachelor of Arts in Musical theatre. Tim relocated to London
performing in the international cast of Mamma Mia! understudying Harry
Bright. Since finishing the show Tim filmed the European TV campaign
for Fosters Nreweries and performed as a vocalist on the Best of
Musicals European Tour.
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