‘Anything Goes’ - Review

From Thursday 17th to Saturday 19th March the stage of the school hall was transformed into the deck of the SS American for the school’s production of ‘Anything Goes’. Set in the 1930s this award winning musical by Cole Porter tells the story of stockbroker Billy Crocker stowing away on board ship to convince the woman he loves, Hope Harcourt, to marry him. Along the way Billy gets the help form Moonface Martin, a gangster, Erma his femme fatale partner and Reno Sweeny socialite and famous singer. Hilarity ensues as Moon and Billy devise wild plans, executed in wilder disguises to convince Hope to marry him.

The production had a fabulous cast where students really engaged with their character and happily got into the swing of the comic and sometimes slapstick routines. Dan Kane was a fantastic Captain playing the role with bluster and eccentricity, ably supported by the superb comic timing of Georgina Watkiss as Purser. The drunkard Eli Whitney and his own romantic conquest, the gold digging Mrs Evageline Harcourt were well played by Tom Lonsdale and Maria Scullion respectively.

James Muscroft-Paylor’s Moonface Martin was a loveable rogue who had the character’s incompetence down to a T. Sofia Robinson’s Erma was hilarious and gave a brilliant performance of ‘Buddy Beware’ toward the end of the show. The eccentric English nobleman Lord Evelyn Oakley was played by Scott Place. A veteran of the musical theatre stage, Scott had the audience in stiches throughout but especially in his rendition of ‘Gypsy in Me’. Katherine Chatterton’s Hope Harcourt was wonderful. Hope brings poignancy and pathos to the show and Katherine managed this magnificently especially in her solo ‘Goodbye Little Dream, Goodbye’.

Josh Belward and Lousia Chatterton as Billy and Reno respectively had the lead roles and were truly outstanding.Taking a significant number of solos and duets between them, not to mention lines and dance routines, they certainly had their work cut out but made it look effortless. Louisa’s performance in all areas captivated the audience throughout but especially in ‘Anything Goes’ and ‘Blow Gabriel’. Josh’s acting was superb throughout from the most ebullient scenes such as ‘You’re the Top to his depths of despair in ‘All Through the Night’.

Special mention should be made to Sofia Robinson for stepping into the role of Reno Sweeny whilst Louisa rested a lost voice, and to Emily Reid for covering the role of Erma vacated by Sofia. The cast were fortunate to have Ella Borchard as their choreographer who capably whipped them into shape producing fabulous dance routines throughout.

The Band were kept under the expert leadership of Mrs Morpeth and sounded fantastic. It was good to welcome back Old Rip Sam Hart who, with Jonathan Tanner, led the technical crew through this demanding aspect of the show.

Congratulations and well done to all involved on a superb production and particular thanks to Mr Seymour, who has instrumented a wonderful production; this will last long in our memories.Everyone who was involved should be very proud of their tremendous achievements.

M L Pearman Headmaster