Harley Mackness as Adelaide in Guys and Dolls. Picture by Jennifer Burton.
STAGE REVIEW THE dice were loaded in favour of the audience as talented students of Sandown Bay Academy performed everyone’s favourite musical about the gambling gangsters who become saints, Guys and Dolls, at a buzzing Shanklin Theatre.
It was a performance that would have been criminal to miss as every student, bar none, put in bags of effort, gelled well in every scene and looked as if they enjoyed every minute of it, as I did.
This was a production that deserved its long and loud ovation and cheers from the large and enthusiastic audience before the curtain fell.
Set around the gambling dens of 1940s New York, the often funny but engaging story with a heart, focuses on four principal characters.
Desperate to find the cash to fund his venue-shifting crap games, luckless gambler Nathan Detroit bets ever-successful Sky Masterson that he would fail to make the first 'doll’ he meets fall in love with him — it being Salvation Army girl Sarah Brown — and to take her to Cuba.
To persuade her to travel to Havana, Sky has to find sinners to save her mission.
As Sky, played by Harry Lovett, falls for Sarah, he reforms his gambling ways, taking the wise-cracking crapshooters with him to the mission.
Sarah, played by Rebecca Wood, showed she had a lovely voice as well as acting talent — excelling with a rendition of I’ll Know and with a character that switches from do-gooding mission master to drunken dame to lovelorn lady.
Sam Sheasby, as Nathan, the harassed crap game organiser, was excellent in the role — putting in a faultless and charismatic performance.
Harley Mackness as his brassy, long-suffering girlfriend, Adelaide, and Tom Chard, as Nicely-Nicely, both put in eye-catching turns and sang extremely well — Harley with Sue Me and Tom, who sang with gusto the show-stealing number, Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.
Overall, the show was well directed by Andee Watson and Lisa Hopwood, with dance sequences that were stylish and had razzmatazz.
Hats off to the orchestra too, led by the show’s musical director Indra Riches, for their musicianship throughout.