Anything Goes

Anything Goes
Music and Lyrics by:Cole Porter. New Book by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman. Musical Theatre Crew. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. Director: Leiz Moore. 12 -27 September 2014

Hobart’s Musical Theatre Crew’s Senior Ensemble gave this reviewer an interesting experience when they presented Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. With a ready supply of talented young musical theatre students to choose from, producers Allan Jeffery and Leiz Moore, also the director, rehearsed the vibrant musical with an alternating cast. Producer Jeffrey suggested that I should “see both casts, because they are both good.” 

 

Two executive evenings of high energy later, I had to agree that both casts gave their all, although there were some differences in the presentation and quality, but both groups delivered the entertainment goods. This exercise proved that a musical ensemble piece is as god as the sum of its parts. Some of the star roles were blindingly good, in both casts, but the ensemble work carried the show. Teamwork! Choreographer Mandy Lowrie’s work was cut out for her, with high-kicking numbers, tap, some balletic moves, and busy, busy ensemble work, all on a smallish stage which didn’t look too crowded. Terrific costumes, bright but not overly fussy lighting and a fast pace kept the show flowing, to the excellent Musical direction of Iestyn Parry supported by vocal musical director Jo Legosz. 

 

On both evenings the cast bounced its way through the well known song and dance routines with such enthusiasm that I quite exhausted at the end of the second evening. How do they do it? Youthful energy and enjoyment! The young cast ranged from 13 through to 18 years of age. The need for the alternate casts was because the performers, mostly, were students, and it was necessary to train up two groups so that the task wasn’t too onerous on the young students. However, many of those on stage played multiple and different roles, so the rehearsal load must have been enormous. 

 

Special guest performer John Xintavelonis, an excellent role model and theatre mentor, featured as Elisha Whitney. John X’s comic timing was at his usual superb best, adding a professional element which the young trainees happily stepped up to. What an amazing collection of musical theatre performers. Australian audiences will eventually benefit from this intense training – well done, Musical Theatre Crew!

 

Merlene Abbott

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