Anything Goes - performed November 1996
By Cole Porter
Performed with the kind permission of Music Scope
Director - Dennis Murfit
Musical Director - Paience Ling
(in order of appearance)
|Lord Evelyn Oakleigh
|Girl at Bar
|Henry T. Dobson
Dennis Murfitt, Jenny Rollings, Bruce Emeny, Maurice & Peggy Barber, Greg Garrad, Alan Laurie, Roger Davies,
Sara Paynter, Val Taylor, Patience Ling, Paul Scott, Doug Chapman, Steve Sadler, Jane Cousins, Viv Wheatley,
The S.S. American, sailing from New York to England, carries an unusual group of passengers.
Included amongst them are a gangster (Moonface Martin), a wealthy debutante and her mother
(Hope and Evangeline Harcourt), a nightclub singer (Reno Sweeny), and a wealthy New York businessman
and his stowaway assistant (Elisha Witney and Billy Crocker). It turns out that Hope is Billy's long-lost love.
Unfortunately, she is now engaged to a wealthy Englishman, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. After a series of comedic
happenings, Billy manages to win back Hope. Meanwhile, Billy's friend, Reno, manages to seduce and win
Lord Evelyn. All this happens while Moonface Martin attempts to escape the law and Hope's mother
strives to maintain her social status.
Set on an ocean liner, the plot of Cole Porter's classic musical is as daft as it is charming.
When first written by Guy Bolton and none other than P.G.Wodehouse, the boat was to have sunk and the cast
engaged in a bizarre and frivolous shipwreck.
But with an actual liner (the SS Morro Castle) sinking just weeks before the first performance, the
producer dumped the original script and told director Howard Lindsey to hurriedly rewrite the entire plot.
The result is something close to a kind of maritime panto.
The Manifest Theatre Company rise to the spirit of this brilliantly.
Christopher Mason handles the role of Billy Crocker with ease and style, while Amanda McCarthy is excellent
as Reno, bringing a refreshing and modern approach to the part made famous by Ethel Merman.
Adrian Bolton is, as ever, versatile and fresh - and very very funny playing Lord Evelyn Oakleigh.
Mike Johansen has also got a notable comic talent, managing to mix perfectly the right amounts of character
and caricature required by the role of Moonface Martin, while Jo Simons is enchanting as Hope.
In the supporting chorus Craig Ward performs well, and with a good voice.
The sets are splendid, the costumes outstanding, and even if I do sometimes suspect that Cole Porter
occasionally wrote his songs with one eye on a rhyming dictionary and the other on a fast buck, the music
Indeed, if there's one observation I should make it's that this production is so good that it really
called for more than a piano, drum, guitar accompaniment.
This is no criticism of the band, who played very well, but a considered use of music technology could
have given the numbers a real lift.
But all in all, this was a well directed, well performed and thoroughly entertaining show.
R G Ashworth
If you have any photos from this production, then please let us know.