Arts Reviews

Anything Goes @ Nottingham Arts Theatre

From the opening note to the final reprise, Musicality’s production of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes swept their enchanted audience out of the plush theatre seats and aboard the SS American. Setting sail for London, an eclectic group of characters sang, danced and acted their way through an enthralling night of memorable musical theatre.

This vibrant musical follows Billy Crocker (played by Sam Wilson) who follows his beloved Hope Harcourt (played by Rebecca Lillie) onto the SS American, successfully stowing himself away with the help of “Moonface” Martin, also known as ‘Public Enemy 13’, and his partner Erma. Unfortunately for Billy, traversing oceans and risking the loss of his job to capture Hope’s heart is nothing compared to the problem he discovers once on board – that Hope is engaged to a Lord Evelyn Oakleigh and set to be married within the week. Luckily Reno Sweeney, an old friend and former lover of Billy’s, is also aboard the ship and willing to lend a helping hand alongside Billy’s new found companions to help him win Hope’s hand in marriage.

“While accents occasionally faltered in sections, the acting from the cast was consistent and convincing”

Director and choreographer, Lucy Castle, has adapted Anything Goes for Musicality’s performance and yet despite some tweaks, this production retains all of the humour, glee and colour of the original – and then some. While accents occasionally faltered in sections, the acting from the cast was consistent and convincing, with everyone from main role characters to ensemble cast maintaining their roles even when they weren’t entirely visible to the audience. Considering the physically demanding nature of the musical, the high energy of the opening was maintained phenomenally throughout the performance until the final swing of the closing curtain. Those playing humorous characters nailed the comedic timing of their lines, not simply reciting but truly performing for an appreciative audience. Yasmin Ali and Laurence Cuthbert were particularly brilliant as partners-in-crime Erma and “Moonface” Martin, and Amy Foden and Oliver Smith as Reno Sweeney and Lord Evelyn Oakleigh respectively should also be noted for their outstanding performances on the night.

With Anything Goes being a musical, there must be something said for the music and choreography of the production. The orchestra in the pit deserve high praise as they executed their part brilliantly, igniting the passion in those performing and bringing the story to life.  The choreography perfectly complimented the atmosphere of the musical; setting it contextually in the 1930s and providing an alternative outlet for the portrayal of the character’s emotions.

“Everything was meticulously decided upon and executed, yet performed with a sense of refreshing spontaneity”

The ensemble scenes were arguably the highlights of the entire production. The cast gelled seamlessly to fill the stage with vibrant song-and-dance numbers that had audience members grinning, dancing in their seats, or in the case of a particularly brave few, singing along! The first ensemble number of ‘There’s No Cure Like Travel/Bon Voyage’ made it evident that the lighting, costume and choreography were all carefully curated to make the most of what the talented cast and crew had to offer. The performance of the title-song ‘Anything Goes’ was, as expected, stunning. Everyone put their best foot forward (quite literally in this case) and successfully delivered.

There was certainly no ‘anything goes’ attitude when it came to this production; everything was meticulously decided upon and executed, yet performed with a sense of refreshing spontaneity. If you have the chances to make your way to the Nottingham Arts Theatre, I would highly recommend seeing this performance for yourself. A truly delightful, delicious and de-lovely piece of musical theatre, not one to miss!


Ashleigh John

‘Anything Goes’ is running at the Nottingham Arts Theatre until Saturday 13th February, for more information and to book tickets see here.

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