The story flies the flag of romantic comedy, set below the decks of an ocean liner travelling from New York to London; offering a great excuse for superb song and dance numbers, involving sailors and beautiful girls.
With shimmering performances from Hurst’s students, this was a show not to be missed. From the opening number through to the closing song and dance routines, the show flowed effortlessly and entertainingly with some simply electric performances; it had audiences bobbing along in time with such classic numbers as "You're the Top" and "Anything Goes".
It will be no surprise to those who have seen Amie Shouler in earlier musicals to learn that she threw herself into the role of evangelist turned nightclub singer Reno Sweeney. She was clearly enjoying every moment as she sung, danced and acted her way into Lord Evelyn Oakleigh’s heart and into the heart of every single member of that evening’s impromptu audience. A tour de force performance neatly counterpointed by Richard Hadfield as Oakleigh who played the great English buffer (Wodehouse, remember, had worked on the early stages of this script) to a ‘t’ and then delighted everyone in the final scenes by revealing a hidden side to his character and finally cartwheeling, tangoing and jumping across the stage and falling at Reno’s feet.
The seemingly ill-starred lovers Billy Crocker (Conor Dumbrell) and Hope Harcourt (Corey Wickens) were magnificent. Conor Dumbrell put in a pitch perfect (literally) performance and many of his songs were pivotal in driving the show forward. His achievement was all the more remarkable considering he is a Year 9 (Shell) pupil in his first year in the Senior School. He can dance too, as can Corey Wickens. We know Corey is a superb musician but it was a revelation to see her on stage rather than in the orchestra and demonstrating how at home she also is singing, dancing and acting.
Timothy Hulsmann-Diamond was a magnificently ‘second rate’ gangster, Moonface Martin and his girlfriend, Erma, was perfectly captured by Elizabeth Beeby, who re-created, on stage, the classic archetype of a gangster’s moll. Helena Leeper’s Mrs Harcourt portrayed the perfect ‘lady’ hard up on her luck and delighted that her daughter was marrying money whilst Callum Gibson caught the spirit and the image of Eli Whitney, a complacently successful graduate of Yale.
The whole extraordinary story plays out aboard an ocean liner which gives a great excuse for some superb song and dance numbers involving sailors and beautiful girls. Fred Barker (Captain) and Peter Firth (Purser) led the team.
"Anything Goes" showcases some extraordinary Hurst talent and is the product of some extraordinarily hard work by cast and crew, as well as the inspirational guidance and leadership of Nicholas Beeby, Neil Matthews, Nicola Dominy and their colleagues.
22 May 2013