STAGE REVIEW FINDING the perfect leads for Ventnor Theatre Group’s saucy production of Cole Porter’s classic Broadway musical, Anything Goes, must have been a dream come true for director Anthony Wright and producer Bobby Oddy.
The SS American steamed into Shanklin Theatre last week, leaving a thoroughly satisfied audience in its wake.
As the luxury liner heads out to sea, two unlikely pairs set off on the course to true love, proving that sometimes destiny needs a little help from a crew of singing sailors, an exotic disguise and some good old-fashioned blackmail.
But in common with musicals of the 1930s, the play was really just a peg on which to hang a parade of glam girls, witty one-liners and some of musical theatre’s most memorable standards — all delivered by an energetic cast.
The audience was taken on a stellar voyage of theatrical frivolity performed with panache and pizzazz, with any first-night nerves well stowed away.
Firmly taking the helm with powerful renditions of I Get a Kick Out of You and Anything Goes was Kellie D’Costa, who shone as the sexy evangelist turned nightclub singer, Reno Sweeney. Arnie Richardson gave a polished performance as Wall Street broker and romantic Billy Crocker, while the wisecracks and
jokes were taken in hand by Richard Buckley, who nailed the American-gangster accent as Moonface Martin, public enemy No13.
Matt Coles was hilarious as the eccentric English gent, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh; his duet with Kellie of The Gypsy in Me was outstanding.
Ashleigh Mackness was vibrant as the beautiful society debutant Hope Harcourt, while Harley Mackness was a scream as gangster’s moll Erma; she really wowed the audience with her rendition of Buddie, Beware.
Overall, it was a hugely enjoyable show, well executed, with fantastic costumes and superb choreography. Throw in a top-notch live orchestra — leading to much toe-tapping — and you have a nautical musical of titanic proportions.