Cole Porter’s Anything Goes

Cole Porter’s Anything Goes
The Production Company. State Theatre, the Arts Centre, Melbourne. Directors: Andrew Hallsworth & Dean Bryant. Musical Director: Peter Casey. Choreographer: Andrew Hallsworth. July 20 – 24, 2011.

The opening night of The Production Company’s staging of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes was a delightful romp. The set, on board an ocean liner, consisted of two decks, the lower one being a metre above stage level, giving plenty of height. The orchestra was placed unobtrusively on the lower deck.

The professional cast was obviously enjoying themselves and tackled the work with enthusiasm. The whole company did an amazing tap dance to the title tune as the finale to the first act. The direction and choreography were excellent.

As Reno, Amanda Harrison was delightful, making every song her own and dancing up a storm. Alex Rathgeber as Billy has a winning personality and used his silky-smooth voice to great effect. His love interest, Hope, was played by Christy Sullivan, who looked delightful, though I’d have preferred a classical voice in this role to contrast with Reno.

Todd McKenney relished his role as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh and was suitably over the top. It takes talent to steal scenes in company like this. Wayne Scott Kermond was another scene-stealer as Moonface Martin. Both were hilarious. Christie Whelan towered over her partner Wayne Scott Kermond, asMoonface, and was a constant delight as the ditzy blonde.

As the older couple Evangeline Harcourt and Elisha Whitney, the experienced Anne Wood and John O'May were delightfully funny.

There were a couple of minor hiccups on opening night, covered with the good humour and professionalism one would expect from this cast. The orchestra was good, though sometimes louder than this old reviewer liked. The sound was generally good, but will improve as the season progresses.

The twists and turns in the plot were a constant delight. Another “must see” night from The Production Company.

Graham Ford

Photographer: Jeff Busby.

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