Following last years triumphant production of White Christmas I expect that many must have echoed the thought “follow that”; well keep it in mind because the same comment will still be relevant next year. BOST’s continued success lies with their strong production team and talented players and “Anything Goes” once again illustrates the benefit of having these factors “in Spades”.
New Director Karen Partington with seasoned campaigner Musical Director Tricia Gaskell and Choreographer Charlotte Elverstone gave us a splendid nights entertainment combining laughter with fine singing and terpsichorean delight. And this show was a perfect opportunity to bring these elements to the fore. Cole Porter’s Thirties musical is as light as a fairy cake and was performed with such style and, exuberance as to make it irresistible. The evergreen songs are such that when, dare I say it, Brittany and Madonna are forgotten they will still be enjoyed by people of all ages. Add to this snappy dialogue and repartee which is still relevant not surprising when one of the original writers was P.G Wodehouse.
As the would be lovers John Tetlow (Billy Crocker) and Sarah Chidlow (Hope Harcourt) brought the characters to life making the most of their songs. It was a pity that John experienced some microphone problems but it is to his great credit that he could still be heard clearly. It was a joy to see Tony Prince (Moonface Martin) in a comedy role. His timing and reactions were both excellent and he revelled in the opportunity. Jennifer Swanepoel as Erma his “sidekick” demonstrated that she is a real talent and proved it every time she made an appearance. Wesley Wharton was cleverly funny as the upper-class fellow who comes on as a ferrety invert and in one number, shimmying in his dressing gown, turns into a Gypsy sex bomb.
Andrew Heath was a tremendous Camp Purser bringing laughter in his wake whenever he “minced” on stage and as the permanently sozzled Wall Street mogul Elisha Whitney, Eddie Bentley more than demonstrated his flair for the comedic. Diane Dale (Evangeline Harcourt) finally succumbs to his charms proving that “money talks” and that she could hold her own in this distinguished company of players. Frank Nance was the “Captain” and his skill in playing this kind of part, remember the General in White Christmas, is always noteworthy.
If there was a prize in this great cast for “First among Equals “ then I doubt if anyone would quarrel with Linzi Stefanov’s claim. This was a Tour de Force across all the Singing, Dancing and Acting disciplines; in essence she was splendid and one rarely sees a performance of such magnitude in the amateur theatre.
Four lovely “Angels”, a strong group of supporting players, a fine team of dancers and chorus all added to the fun. Nice to see two very young dancers included.
The backstage production teams contribution is always of the highest standard; another fine feather in BOST’s cap.
As tune-and-toe tapping shows go, this is about as good as it gets.