Anything Goes

April 14, 2016 | By | Reply More

★★★★☆    It’s the Top

Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh: Weds 13 – Sat 16 April 2016
Review by Susan Lowes

The SS American sets sail from the Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh each night until Saturday with some colourful characters and a mischievous rogue or two on board.

Musselburgh Amateur Musical Association bring a high energy take on Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. It might not be the slickest of productions, but director Graeme Aitken certainly delivers playful and jaunty, seafaring fun. It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s delovely!

The ensemble of Anything Goes. Photo Musselburgh Camera Club

The ensemble of Anything Goes. Photo Musselburgh Camera Club

Andrew Jack plays the young ladies man and Wall Street broker, Billy Crocker. Ending his lothario ways, Billy has fallen in love with American debutante, Hope Harcourt played by Michaela Turner.

But there’s a problem, Hope is set to marry rich Sir Evelyn Oakleigh on the SS American in a matter of days. So he stows-away onboard and with the help of a couple of friends- and a couple of enemies – seeks to win back his love. Singing, dancing and farcical hilarity ensue as they sail on to London.

Andrew Jack as Billy is perhaps less convincing as the initial Casanova character, but he plays the love sick lad with a certain boyish charm. His determination to win Hope at all costs is heartwarming and endearing while he shows that he can smash a solo or a duet when he needs to.

However, the ladies man sometimes does shine through, particularly during his scenes with Reno Sweeney, played by Jenna Lee. Admittedly, it would be hard not to have chemistry with Reno, an old friend of Billy’s and former evangelist turned nightclub singer.

spectacular

Lee is spectacular: stealing the show in almost every scene. She oozes that American exuberance with effortless charm and, of course, a cracking set of pipes.

Reno, Fallen Angels and the ensemble. Photo: Musselburgh Camera Club

Reno, Fallen Angels and the ensemble. Photo: Musselburgh Camera Club

Reno helps Billy thwart Hope’s engagement to Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, played by Justin Skelton, and finds herself a little bit of love along the way. Reno and Evelyn’s duet of The Gypsy in Me is truly wonderful – the pair were made for each other – Lee and Skelton are a pleasure to watch. So much so that they end up the heroes of the day!

But it’s not just Reno that aids or hinders Billy in his journey. Enter Ali MacDougall as Moonface Martin and Carla Allan as Erma. Moonface is a kind of second-rate gangster, or Public Enemy Number 13, and Erma his travelling companion. Where he is gruff, she is sassy, complementing each other wonderfully. MacDougall and Allan are so natural and comfortable that they embody their roles.

Richard Tebbutt and Matt McDonagh make an expressive and unforgettably comical duo of the ship’s Captain and his shipmate. Tebbutt’s dancing is delightfully playful and McDonagh’s choice in underwear is questionable.

The production as a whole is bright and entertaining with the fantastic set ruling the waves across the Atlantic Ocean. There’s love, intrigue, celebrity gangsters, gambling Chinese holy men, five basque-adorned Angels and enough frivolity and farce to sink a ship.

You’ll get more of a kick out of this production than a sinking though.

Running time – 2 hours 30 minutes (including interval)
Brunton Theatre, Ladywell Way, Musselburgh EH21 6AA
Wednesday 13-Saturday 16 April 2016
Evenings: 7.30pm
Tickets and details: www.thebrunton.co.uk

ENDS

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