The Savoy Theatre seems to be the hub of musical revivals at the moment, the smash hit revival of Gypsy has vacated the theatre and immediately the revival of another traditional musical pops up to fill the void – Guys and Dolls.
The American director Gordon Greenberg lends his skills to this revival, bringing back a traditional show to the West End. It ticks all of the boxes for a MGM style traditional musical with a great cast of leads and a dazzling ensemble. Greenberg directs a very talented cast who all bring a vivacious energy to the show, paired with great costumes by Iwan Harries and phenomenal choreography by Carlos Acosta and Andrew Wright.
In short, for those of you who don’t know much about Guys and Dolls. The show derives from two stories by Damon Runyon. It highlights Broadway’s underworld and particularly focuses on the tale of a Bible-quoting gambler who ends up dating a Salvation Army girl.
As the show follows the format of a more dated style, some of the scenes in my eyes have a slow driving force, slightly wordy, very much that of a traditional old school musical. There is a big build up to the ‘problem’ which pushes the story for most of the show with a quick resolve of the issue in the last quarter of the show, similar to that of Pajama Game etc. This is very much though from the style of writing from that era and in my eyes is a great telltale of how theatre has changed. With that being said Guys and Dolls is still a great night out and is a nice ode to a different theatre writing era. The attracts those from an older age bracket who grow up with this style of show and also those from a younger crowd due to the reworking of the show and new choreographers.
Coming from a dance background myself, the choreography from both Acosta and Wright is exceptional, some of the best on the West End at present. Stylistic to the era with great use of acrobatics, partner work and all executed with a nice crisp and precise energy. Each member of the ensemble brings something exciting and different to the show. Within the choreography there are moments where a member of the ensemble or duet will break out into a different section of choreography giving them a chance to shine and add to the dynamics of the show.
It’s no news that the Savoy isn’t the biggest stage in town, so there were times that I wish the cast especially the dancers had more space to use and explore but as this is going to be a touring production the show needs to be able to play on a variety of stages.
The opening scene very much reminded me of the musical ‘On the Town’, setting the scene of a busy and lively New York told through dance. I only wished that within the show there were more opportunities to see the cast dance. As I said before the dance numbers were fantastic, I mean really great, but there were only a handful. On the flip side of that ,as a dancer I am sure the cast loved performing them and probably needed the downtime in between scene to recoup from the full out numbers.
Now onto the leads. Sophie Thompson as Miss Adelaide is hysterical and wildly talented as the headstrong and down on love show girl. Comically Partnered with David Haig who plays Nathan Detroit, a businessman of sorts always looking to make a buck.
Jamie Parker brings exceptional acting and vocals to the role of Sky Matthews. His onstage counterpart is Siubhan Harrison who plays the innocent missionary girl Sarah Brown.
All four leads have a different energy and dynamic that put together this quartet is funny, genuine and I am sure will please the crowds up and down the country.
With tickets booking till March 2016 until Funny Girl opens in April and Guys and Dolls goes off on a UK Tour,
You can find out more information about the show and cast etc at http://www.guysanddollsthemusical.co.uk. You can see if the show is appearing in a venue near you and purchase tickets http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/guys-and-dolls/