Guys and Dolls

Royal Hippodrome Theatre, Eastbourne,
From Friday 21st July 2023 to Saturday 29th July, 2023

by Tony Flood

The Rattonians have come up with another winner in Guys and Dolls, widely acknowledged to be one of the best ever musical comedies.
A talented, energetic cast do justice to Frank Loesser’s music and lyrics, based on Damon Runyon’s stories about the shady side of New York in a classic show which ran for 1,200 performances when it opened on Broadway in 1950.
Alex Adams and Star Bray give excellent performances as dashing gambler Sky Masterson and straight-laced Salvation Army missionary Sarah Brown. I loved their golden voices and natural charm, but felt they could have shown greater chemistry in the iconic duet I’ve Never Been In Love Before.
Desperate hustler Nathan Detroit, trying to find the cash to set up the biggest crap game in town, makes a ‘can’t lose’ bet with Sky that he can’t persuade Sarah to go to Havana with him on a date. Sky beats the odds and the sultry Cuban nightlife has an amazing effect on the innocent evangelist.
Nathan’s long-suffering girlfriend, nightclub performer Adelaide, laments that they’ve been engaged for 14 years. She has even gone to the lengths of pretending for years to her unseen mother that she and Nathan are married with children. The couple are brilliantly played by Nathan Morris and Emily Davis, who provide wonderful comic timing in Sue Me.
There are other show-stopping songs in If I were a Bell, My Time of Day and Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat, superbly delivered by Sam Hile as Nicely-Nicely Johnson while leading a chorus of sinners and missionaries in a great musical climax.
Rattonians favourites Mark and Melanie Adams, Grant Martins and Laura May Sivers add to the fun, along with Daniel Garnham, Kathryn Vincent, Peter Gurr, Leigh Baker, Jay West and Alfie Sefton.
There’s astonishing choreography provided by Debbie Adams and gorgeous costumes. Directors Mark and Alex Adams, who are also producers, together with family members Melanie and Debbie, ensure that a show which starts slowly takes off and finishes on a high.

Picture: Trevor Mould