Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Sparkling take on Porter

SPARKLE, sparkle — the classic Anything Goes still hits the spot. This is a fun show

SPARKLE, sparkle — the classic Anything Goes still hits the spot. This is a fun show that emits light and laughter — even in dress rehearsal!

The memorable melodies of Cole Porter are first class, which is why this musical has been one of “the top” since its first production in 1934.

Henley Amateur and Dramatic Society have produced a classy show that leaves the audience on a high with the classic songs such as Blow, Gabriel, Blow and You’re the Top echoing in the ear. The director Michael Huntington has found a splendid cast and drilled them well.

Kate Boswell’s Reno Sweeney is one of the best I have seen. Her singing and acting — especially in conjunction with Phil Crouch as Billy Crocker — eclipse all others in some wonderful moments.

The cast are all of the highest calibre. The veteran Tony Slevin, once again as Moonface Martin, public enemy No 13, is a joy — his every gesture a moment to treasure. And his sidekick Judy Vaughan as the sexy “Come on, boys” Erma makes the sailors forget all their duties.

The love angle is handled in a delightful way by Melodie Mason as Hope Harcourt in her duets with Billy.

The fun angle is hilarious with Andy Camichel playing the noble peer Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. His dance in The Gypsy in Me is a tour de force.

Much fun is had by Caroline Hopkins as Hope’s mother and Elisha Whitney, played by Mark Wilkins, sings a very funny Yale song dedicated to his alma mater.

This is one show where the supporting cast are also of the highest calibre, never missing a chance to sing and act.

David Wilson is a pompous captain and his purser is the comic Julie Huntington, while mention must also be made of the hilarious duo of Mark and Luke — the Chinese converts played by Piers Burnell, a latter-day Fu Manchu, and Michael Herbert.

The show also gives the dancers a chance to shine. The ship’s crew of delightfully dressed ladies as sailors tap their way through the hit song Anything Goes, ably supported by the sailor boys.

Samantha Riley has choreographed a well-disciplined crew. The sequence in Blow, Gabriel, Blow is stunning in its power and sound as the passengers all join in the fun of the moment

The singing, both solo and chorus, is of a very high standard under the direction of Jonathan Heard, and the costumes by Julie Huntington and Jennifer Haywood shine and bring the sets to life.

This is must-see show, and is proving so popular that a matinee has now been added on Saturday. So don’t miss out — this is a fun-filled family show, with children’s tickets just £9 for all performances.

Until Saturday.

Review: Robert Sterling

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