Southern Daily Echo
Anything Goes transports you away from the angst of modern life and soothes your troubles on a luxury ocean liner, with the reassurance that love always triumphs and a Martini can cure most ills.
Musical Theatre Salisbury captured the 1930s vibe with their stylish set and costumes from the word go, though crew in costume would have been the icing on the cake.
There were some excellent performances with the supporting principals bringing their characters to life – no walking the plank for Purser (Helen Lovett-Turner) and Erma (Katy Sibbald). Of the main characters, Reno (Lauren Hillier) was fabulous. She gave just the right emphasis to the lyrics and oozed sex appeal. Billy (Dave Simmons) was the debonair leading-man, in contrast to the hilariously gauche Lord Evelyn Oakley (Matt Sparkes) and the inebriated Elisha Whitney (Martyn Davies).
Light-hearted and charming aptly describes this production. All aboard for a great night out.
Members of Musical Theatre Salisbury were in fine voice as they presented Cole Porter’s tale of love at sea, Anything Goes.
Designer Tom Paris took the bold decision to bring the action out into the auditorium, with a low stage flanked by seating on three sides. If some of the cast were a little hesitant at having their audience at such close quarters at first, this soon dissipated.
The story of Billy Crocker, who stows away on the SS American with the ambition of winning the heart of Hope Harcourt, who is betrothed to aristocrat Lord Evelyn Oakley, is perfectly light hearted, especially once some public enemies, silly disguises and missing dogs are thrown into the mix.
The beautifully dressed Laura Kitching lit up the stage as the sweet Hope, and newcomer Lauren Hillier demonstrated her singing talents as club singer Reno Sweeney, although in places her performance was a little reserved. Matt Sparkes relished playing English buffoon Oakley and The Gypsy in Me was a highlight. Dave Simmons gave an accomplished performance in the hefty role of Billy, and Katy Sibbald was dynamic as gangster’s pal Erma. Most of the cast managed a decent American accent and there were moments of comedy, although more could have been made of some of the characters to eke out extra laughs.
The leads were supported by a strong chorus which was sadly underused. Some of the solos and duets seemed rather lost in this vast expanse of empty stage and it would have been nice to see more of the talented cast used as backing singers and dancers. What musicals lack in story-line they have to make up for in spectacle, and more big chorus numbers would have given this show an extra lift.
The specially-made costumes looked fantastic and the clever positioning of the orchestra worked well.
This was an enjoyable production with catchy songs well executed by a hard working cast.