Luxury liner steams in with musical delight

By Martin Neville

Friday, February 15, 2013

 

Luxury liner steams in with musical delight

The cast of Anything Goes, by Ventnor Theatre Group, at Shanklin Theatre. Picture by Robin Crossley.

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.

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