Cole Porter classic gets a remake
The classic nautical production "remarkably fresh"
Cole Porters classic musical comedy Anything Goes has survived a number of dramatic changes since it made its Broadway debut in 1934. Songs have been added, deleted and reassigned, characters renamed, and plotlines modified, keeping the show remarkably fresh as it enters its 80th year.
Director Tony Bumps current adaptation at Hillsboros HART Theatre fully exploits the license granted by this tradition, and the result is a lean, clever, fast-paced show, which continues through June 22.
The play follows young Wall Street broker Billy Crocker, who comes aboard the S.S. American to deliver a passport to his boss. Billy encounters the lovely Hope Harcourt, for whom he has pined ever since they spent nine (or was it 12?) hours in a hansom cab months earlier. Discovering that Hope is en route to England to marry stuffy British nobleman Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, Billy opts to stow away and disrupt the wedding plans.
Gangster on the lam Moonface Martin takes Billy under his wing, while over the course of two acts, 18 musical numbers, countless disguises, sight gags and cheap jokes, Billy tries to win Hopes hand.
The plot is tied up nicely with characters finding true love and Moonface Martin being declared harmless by the FBI.
Andy Roberts playing Billy Crocker and Rachel Thomas playing Hope Harcourt make a cute and believable couple. Thomas shifts fluidly from starry-eyed infatuation to dignified petulance, while Roberts brings a playful insouciance to his pathetically obvious disguises. Their mastery of the tricky lyrics and meter of Its Delovely make this lighthearted number one of the shows highlights.
Dorinda Toner as Reno Sweeney makes the most of a role originally defined by the great Ethel Merman. She is brassy, brash and bubbly a real belter with a great voice. In solos and backed by her Angels a lovable quartet of slightly used, tap-dancing showgirls she enthusiastically delivers the shows liveliest numbers.
Steve Pitzel as Sir Evelyn Oakleigh uses his extensive entertainment background to mine every possible nuance of what can be but isnt always a great comic role. His timing, dry delivery and exceptionally mobile eyes ensure that many of the shows funniest situations get the laughs they deserve.
The productions secret weapon is Stan Yeend as the machine gun totin Public Enemy #13, Moonface Martin. From his first moment on stage, Yeend holds the audience in thrall as he casually cavorts through an endless series of one-liners mixed with physical comedy. He is ably assisted by Megan Bronleewe as his sidekick, Bonnie, who gives a particularly funny twist to her delivery of Heaven Hop.
The show requires a strong ensemble for many of the big song and dance numbers; despite some problems with accompaniment, director Bumps cast is equal to the task. Audiences looking for a good old-fashioned musical with lots of laughs, lively tap dancing and appealing songs will definitely enjoy the production.Add a comment