In olden days a glimpse of stocking was all you needed to put on a semi-decent musical, but nowadays a production needs more than a good wardrobe manager. Today’s musical theatre audiences walk into the Sydney Opera House to see Dean Bryant and Andrew Hallsworth’s version of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes expecting a set that transports them into the world of the play: tick (and the segue for the audience is beautifully achieved by having the onstage barman ask everyone to make sure the only phone that rings is his one). They sit back in their seats, eagerly awaiting strong singing: tick (and all done with fabulous New Yoik accents). They look for convincing acting: double tick – the background acting is phenomenal. (Whether this is down to the cast themselves or extremely attentive directing I cannot know, but either way, it is brilliant.)
But the triple tick goes, toes down, to the choreography. From the comedic duet between Reno and Martin to the frenetic applause-worthy full company eponymous number just before the interval, whenever you spot a cast member wearing tap shoes you know you are in for a treat. And it is not just the chorus: while in any other show they would shine as the strong dancers, in this one they serve rather to accompany the triple-threat leads – some of the finest performers I have ever seen grace a stage.
This is, quite simply, a toe-tappingly terrific piece of theatre. From start to finish you will smile, laugh and be dazzled.
So though I’m by no means a dancer I now cannot help but answer: my favourite show? Anything Goes!
Anything Goes is on at The Sydney Opera House until 31st October 2015 and features musical legends Caroline O’Connor and Todd McKenny.
About Fiona Hart
Fiona studied theatre at the University of Glasgow and also the University of California, San Diego, and has worked as an Assistant Stage Manager at the Edinburgh Festival. Since moving to Australia in 2011 she has greatly enjoyed exploring the Sydney theatre scene. Follow her on Twitter @missfmp or catch her blog on originalchatterbox.blogspot.com.
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