|BLONDE BOMBSHELL: Erma Latour, played by Alexandra Foster, flirts with sailors in Anything Goes. Photo supplied.|
• Howick and Pakuranga Times
Written by: Cole Porter
Director: Grant Meese
Times rating: ★★★★★
Reviewed by: REBECCA GARDINER
GLITTERING gowns, lots of laughter and generous helpings of hum-along tunes and knee-jiggling dance moves have come together for a show’s debut.
Lovers of musicals could not fail to be impressed by the fun and undeniable feel-good factor aboard Anything Goes, which debuted at the Civic Theatre last Thursday.
The show, directed by Grant Meese, is set on a cruise ship and features a cast of characters that capture hearts from the first croon.
Jackie Clarke sizzles on stage as the red-headed Reno Sweeney, an evangelist turned nightclub singer who steals the show from start to finish.
Equipped with her usual charm and energetic stage presence, the accomplished Kiwi entertainer belts out songs with ease and shows she’s no slouch on the dance floor.
Reno’s love interest is Billy, the long-suffering lackey to an Ivy League Wall Street banker, who’s besotted with pretty debutante Hope Harcourt.
He’s supposed to be working, but love is too strong a pull and Billy boards the ship to be near his beloved, who’s engaged to Englishman Evelyn Oakley.
Tyran Parke plays the lovesick stowaway and is without a doubt the best of the male singers and enjoys a good chemistry with both of his leading ladies.
In essence, Anything Goes is a musical about a woman who’s in love with a man, who’s in love with another woman, who’s marrying another man.
While this is certainly a well-worn theme, in the hands of the cast it’s anything but clichéd.
Richard Neame performs the role of the pompous Evelyn to perfection, and delivers some of the show’s silliest lines with aplomb, while New York gangster Moonface Martin and sidekick Erma Latour also have important parts to play in the comedy action.
The show’s score, by legendary lyricist and composer Cole Porter, is expertly delivered by a stellar orchestra. Among the standout numbers are I Get A Kick Out of You, Blow Gabriel Blow, You’re The Top and It’s De-Lovely.