Sav­ing the best un­til last...

Guys and Dolls, Kin­dred Drama, Key The­atre, Au­gust 22 - 25

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - REVIEW - by Joe Con­way

It’s been a great sum­mer for the­atre in and around Peter­bor­ough with pro­fes­sional tour­ing com­pa­nies and lo­cal am­a­teurs putting on some fan­tas­tic shows.

But for me, not even the best of them came close to this youth the­atre pro­duc­tion of Guys and Dolls. In fact this was one of those rare oc­ca­sions when every­thing came to­gether to cre­ate a tran­scend­ing artis­tic ex­pe­ri­ence, dy­namic, colour­ful, and deeply mov­ing.

First, there’s the feel­good show it­self. Pre­miered in 1950, it’s one of the very best Amer­i­can mu­si­cals, fully on a par with Ok­la­homa, South Pa­cific, and the rest. It of­fers a plot that’s ex­cep­tion­ally strong, and a de­light­ful ar­ray of adult fairy­tale char­ac­ters lifted from the wacky New York sto­ries of Da­mon Run­yon. There are episodes at the Hot Box club and in Ha­vana which of­fer op­por­tu­ni­ties for lav­ish dance se­quences. But, above all, Guys and Dolls con­tains around 20 catchy, mem­o­rable, and dis­tin­guished songs, most fa­mously Sit Down You’re Rock­ing the Boat and Luck Be a Lady Tonight.

But, the other num­bers are su­perb too and in this pro­duc­tion some of the less fa­mil­iar songs shone bright­est. Like the gor­geous ro­man­tic duets I’ll Know and I’ve Never Been in Love Be­fore, the feisty Marry the Man To­day, and the ir­re­sistible When You See a Guy.

An­other num­ber that came across bril­liantly was the open­ing Fugue for Tin Horns, sung with con­fi­dence and aplomb by Ben Landy, Har­vey Jones, and Joe Price. Not to men­tion clear dic­tion and con­vinc­ing Amer­i­can ac­cents.

Soon af­ter, one of the two male leads ap­pears. He’s Nathan Detroit who’s des­per­ately search­ing for a venue for a gam­bling ses­sion. In a nat­u­rally com­mand­ing per­for­mance Jamie Glasby dom­i­nated the ac­tion when­ever he was on stage. His fi­ancée Miss Ade­laide was played by Colleen McQuillen with to­tal com­mit­ment and a squeaky lit­tle-girl voice that sur­vived both her hi­lar­i­ous Lament and the pat­ter-song You Prom­ise Me This.

The other male lead is su­per-gam­bler Sky Master­son, given a sym­pa­thetic and cred­i­ble per­for­mance by Calvin We­ston. He ac­cepts the im­pos­si­ble bet that he can take ‘mis­sion doll’ Sarah Brown on a din­ner date. As Sarah, Aye­sha Pa­tel made an out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion in her Jekyl­land-Hyde role, em­bel­lish­ing the duets with Sky with some sweet so­prano singing.

There were other mem­o­rable so­los, but the last word must go to the en­tire com­pany of nearly 50.

As you’d ex­pect, the Dolls con­trib­uted some de­li­cious dance rou­tines with plenty of el­e­gant leg­work. But, sur­pris­ingly the Guys also pro­duced some chore­o­graphic hi-jinks in their spec­tac­u­lar dance in the gam­bling joint.

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