Manchester’s Palace Theatre transports you back in time to the Prohibition-era and the bright lights of New York City with its latest offering Guys and Dolls. Playing till 21st Nov the highly acclaimed Chichester Festival Theatre sell-out production of Guys and Dolls arrives prior to a West End transfer to London’s Savoy Theatre in December.
It’s another win for the city as part of the fantastic ATG initiative ‘Manchester Gets It First’, the scheme which aims to launch more shows at the company’s Manchester theatres.
Hailed one of the best musicals of all time Guys and Dolls is full of big songs and dance numbers – Lucky Be a Lady and Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat being the most famous of the lot.
The production reunites David Haig (Nathan Detroit) and Sophie Thompson (Miss Adelaide) for the first time since their pairing in Four Weddings and a Funeral and they still manage to capture the magic the had onscreen all these years later on. Haig plays Nathan Detroit, a man obsessed with gambling – so much so he’s committed more to that than marrying his showgirl fiancé Miss Adelaide (Thompson) in the 14 years they have been together. When Detroit makes a wager with Sky Masterson a man who can never turn down a bet, he reckons it is a sure thing. But nothing is ever certain in a city that never sleeps.
Jamie Parker is fabulous as Sky Masterson, capturing the self assured swagger that Marlon Brando had when he played that role in the 1955 MGM film plus he croons the tunes with a beautiful warm tone.
Siubhan Harrison also has some superb vocals as well-doing missionary and Masterson’s love interest Sarah Brown. Harrison really comes into her own in the Havana scenes, where she plays a very convincing drunk and even manages to fit in a few impressive dance moves.
One of the real stars of the show though is the stunning choreography from Carlos Acosta and Andrew Wright, which makes for some amazing dance sequences. Havana born Acosta is one of the world’s most prolific ballet dancers and he uses his roots to his advantage in this production, adding some fast and furious steps in the Cuban scenes and a balletic quality to Luck be a Lady.
Plus there’s a truly show-stopping version of Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat thanks to Gavin Spokes as Nicely-Nicely Johnson which earns a well deserved rapturous applause from the audience.
Director Gordon Greenberg needn’t worry about the reaction to Guys and Dolls when it moves to the West End – if the Manchester run is anything to go by I bet my last dime it will be a sure-fire hit!
Guys and Dolls, Palace Theatre, Manchester
Runs till Saturday 21 November 2015