COLE PORTER’S Anything Goes, is one of those fun musicals which is proving almost timeless.
The story line might be a bit wacky, but with its fantastic catalogue of musical numbers, and a whole host of great characters it’s easy to see why it retains its appeal to both amateur and professional companies alike.
Set aboard the transatlantic liner SS American in the 1930s, Anything Goes features stowaway broker Billy Crocker who is pursuing the love of his life Hope Harcourt, who in turn is bound for England with her mother Evangeline, and English fiance Lord Evelyn Oakley.
Throw in a gangster and his moll, two Chinese immigrants, a nightclub singer Reno Sweeney and her backing group, and a variety of other characters and there are all the ingredients for a high farce of which Brian Rix would have been proud.
Although preferring the original version to this re-witten one, it still retains the cracking numbers, many of which are shouldered by leading lady Helen Woodhead, as Reno who handles them with an experienced and relaxed ease.
Tried and trusted classics like I Get a Kick Out Of You, You’re The Top, the all-action Blow Gabriel Blow, as well as the title song Anything Goes, all come tripping out, almost one after the other.
Martin Stead, as lovesick Billy Crocker also commands the stage well and is starting to show the promise of real talent, particularly with his vocals where he was so assured in numbers such as It’s De-Lovely and All Through the Night, both in tandem with his intended paramour Hope Harcourt, played confidently and sweetly by Gemma Clarkson.
Gemma’s younger sister Zoe also sizzled as the man-mad Erma, and is another who is rapidly rising her stock on the Huddersfield stage, both as a singer and actress, as she played alongside Paul Bennett, who gave a very different, but very pleasing interpretation as the jovial gangster Moonface Martin.
Other supporting cast members were Ja Ja Rider-Ekins as the dim-witted Sir Evelyn, Billy Walker as Elisha Whitney, Irene Bradley as Mrs Harcourt, and Gareth Dickinson and Scott Armstrong, both somewhat wasted as the Chinese duo.
Produced by Gil Wade, with choreography from Lynn Clarkson under the musicianship of Mark Breen, Anything Goes runs until Saturday, when there is a matinee at 2.15.