Fun, feelgood production was a high-energy hit

Guys and Dolls at Milton Keynes Theatre
Guys and Dolls at Milton Keynes Theatre

Guys and Dolls, reviewed by Hannah Richardson

Following critical acclaim and an extension in the West End, the Chichester Festival Theatre revival of Guys and Dolls is on tour at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday.

Guys and Dolls at Milton Keynes Theatre

Guys and Dolls at Milton Keynes Theatre

I did wonder whether the popular musical, set in Prohibition era New York, would seem dated.

But it was such an enjoyably colourful, energetic and all-round feelgood production that it completely won me over.

The set and costume design, by Peter McKintosh, achieved the seemingly impossible task of creating a bright and colourful stage out of what is actually a seedy back-street setting.

The talented cast includes local Leighton Buzzard actress and singer Louise Dearman, giving an endearing performance in the role of nightclub singer Miss Adelaide, whose fiancé of 14 years, Nathan Detroit (Maxwell Caulfield), is dragging his feet when it comes to marrying her.

Anna O’Byrne gave an inspired performance as the uptight Salvation Army campaigner, Sarah Brown, pursued for a bet by notorious gambler Sky Masterson (Richard Fleeshman).

The scene in Havana, where Sky has lured her to lunch, and she inadvertently gets drunk and loses her inhibitions, both on the dancefloor and off, was a masterpiece of comic timing and choreography, kept just the right side of uncomfortable by superbly sensitive performances from both of them.

Sadly, first night amplification issues meant I was unable to hear much of Sky’s singing, which was swallowed by the auditorium and drowned by the orchestra.

Hopefully, that has been rectified for subsequent performances, because the overall standard of the singing and performance in the show were outstanding.

Special mention must go to Melanie Marshall, who brought stunning vocals to the role of General Matilda B. Cartwright, and Danielle Stephen, for a wonderful comic turn on the dancefloor as the Havana Diva.

I left the theatre on a high, with the songs in my head all the way home, and you can’t really ask much more than that from a musical.

For tickets, call the box office on 0844 871 7652 or see www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes