by Tony Flood

Bede’s School’s production of classic musical comedy Guys and Dolls was a roaring success at the Devonshire Park Theatre on Thursday as it recreated breath-taking song and dance routines, hilarious wise-cracks and old time New York charm.
The cast’s zealous delivery of Frank Loesser’s show-stopping numbers Luck Be a Lady, If I were a Bell and Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat was infectious.
Maya Goswami and Charlie Swan were superb as Sarah Brown, an idealistic Salvation Army missionary struggling to convert sinners in 1940s New York, and suave gambler Sky Masterson, who takes her on a date to Havana to win a bet. They had great stage presence and their vocals were excellent.
These two youngsters, aged 16 and 17 respectively, also showed surprisingly good chemistry in an spell-binding rendition of the epic I’ve Never Been in Love Before. Maya provided another highlight as the innocent evangelist became drunk.
Archie Mustarde was ideal as Nathan Detroit, a loveable hustler desperate to find a new venue for an illegal crap game, while stringing along his long-suffering fiancée, Miss Adelaide. Naïve nightclub performer Miss Adelaide, played with comic charm by Madelaine Hussein, laments that they have been engaged for 14 years. She has even pretended to her unseen mother that she and Nathan are married with children.
Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat was superbly delivered with gospel fervour by Max Nash as Nathan’s loyal friend and lackey Nicely-Nicely Johnson while leading a chorus of sinners and missionaries in a rousing musical climax.
There were other outstanding performances from Tom Prince and Noah Van Herk as gamblers Benny Southstreet and Harry The Horse, and Charlie Bennett as bumbling Lieutenant Brannigan. A few of the crooks could have appeared more threatening, but the whole cast were impressive in the song and dance routines
Director and producer Karen Lewis skilfully took full advantage of the wide range of talent and the excellent contributions by choreographer Sherrie Pennington, musical director James Aburn, director of music Robert Scamardella, set designer Ryan Dawson-Leight and lighting designer Bob Bryan.
This ensured that a show, which starts in first gear before taking off and finishing on a high, provides the audience with a joyous, entertaining evening.
* Some of the leading roles are shared during the three-day run, with Brooke Castree also playing Sarah Brown, Charlie Maidens as Sky Masterson and Pame Mariscal-Cassis as Miss Adelaide.

Picture by Paul Hickinbotham