Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Theatre Trip: Guys and Dolls

Rebecca and I kicked off the New Year in style with a trip to Guys and Dolls at the Savoy Theatre. The tickets were from Rebecca's secret theatre club and the seats were a little far from the stage but pretty comfortable. 

I knew going in that this was the musical Luck Be a Lady is from - which is one of my favourite songs. Rebecca had knew that Jamie Parker was in, which was more exciting to me than to her as I still adore all the actors from The History Boys. I also knew he'd done other musical things before, so he seemed a solid casting choice. 

Beyond that, we didn't know a lot. We were pretty sure it was about Gangsters, but this conversation aptly reflects the depth of our ignorance:
K: I think this is the musical Luck Be a Lady is from, but beyond that I know almost nothing about it.
R: It is, I remember that from the spiel above the ordering box. Is this the one about gangsters?
K: I think it's a one about gangsters? I mean, it's not Bugsy Malone which is what I think of when you say 'the one about gangsters'.
R: Two  musical about gangsters?? You'd think it wouldn't make a very apt topic for a musical, wouldn't you? I suppose three if you include West Side Story. Or is that gangs, rather than gangsters?
We had a blast. The stage was awesome and innovative, with lots of lighting effects. I think my favourite was either when they went from New York to Havana and there were palm trees and a big blue moon or else towards the end when they used twinkly lights. There was also some surprisingly glittery ticker tape right at the end.

The singing was excellent too - the cast was full of those admirable, amazing people who are both quality actors and quality singers. Rebecca and I were surprised to find David Haig (Bernard from Four Weddings and a Funeral) in a lead role. Even the more minor characters had great voices, especially Gavin Spokes who sang Sit Down You're Rocking The Boat to extended applause.

The music was jaunty and lively, the costumes were great and the story was fun. As an added bonus, we discovered that the strudel v cheesecake bet in Cabin Pressure was originally from this! 

I'd say the story took a little while to get into. It took some time for the main character to actually appear on stage. The plot was also pretty predictable, but that's not as much of a downside for a musical as it would be for other forms of entertainment. 

There was a little too much talking (as compared to singing) for my personal tastes, and also a couple of extended dance numbers with neither singing nor talking - which are historically not my favourite. 

Final Thoughts
Possibly a more professional, polished production than the last musical I went to see (Bend it like Beckham) but not quite as much fun. 8 stars. 

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