From the moment the curtain opened on Nicely Nicely, Benny and Rusty trying to arrange an illegal craps game, until the entire company danced off the stage two and a half hours later, the audience were enthralled.
This was a high-energy, slickly choreographed, full broadway production of 'Guys and Dolls'. The cast sang and danced their way through a thoroughly entertaining evening which left the audience wanting more.
Joe plays Nathan Detroit, a commitment phobic New York gambler who is trying to arrange an illegal craps game whilst avoiding not only the local police but also his long-suffering girlfriend Adelaide (Clare Sweeney). In trying to raise the money for the game to go ahead, Nathan decides to wager a bet against Sky Masterson. After a first, unsuccessful betting attempt, Sky bets Nathan that he can take any doll Nathan names to Havana, Cuba. Unfortunately for him, Nathan names Miss Sarah Brown, from The Salvation Army Mission!
The two relationships run parallel throughout this story. Sky is trying to persuade Sarah to go to Havana with him so he can win his bet, whilst Nathan is trying to hold on to Adelaide, organise a secret craps game and delay the marriage - after all they have only been engaged for fourteen years, no point in rushing these things!
There were some wonderful dances from the girls in the company. Adelaide and The Hot Box Girls performed 'Bushel and a Peck' in Act 1 and the more raunchy 'Take Back Your Mink' in Act 2.
One of the (many) highlights of Act 1 for me was the scene with Nathan and the Crapshooters. About to be rumbled by the law they inform the police that the gathering is to celebrate Nathan's wedding to Adelaide! They have an excellent little dance routine whilst Joe sings the beautiful 'Adelaide'.
Act 2 has some amazing dances from the male members of the cast - 'The Crapshooters Dance', 'Luck Be A Lady' and of course the show-stopping 'Sit Down You're Rocking The Boat', which is wonderfully led by Nicely Nicely, played by Christian Patterson. Although Joe (at the time I saw the show) was not taking part in all the dances due to a back problem he is proving to be quite a dancer and I look forward to seeing the show again when he will hopefully be joining in 'Luck Be a Lady'.
This production has a very strong cast led by four amazing performers. Ben Richards and Lisa Stokke had a good rapport but for me the real chemistry was between Joe and Claire Sweeney - it wasn't difficult to believe they had been engaged for fourteen years! Added to which, Joe's comic timing was impeccable throughout this show with some superb facial expressions - definitely a show to see if you've not yet been!
Reviewed by Michelle Harris