Guys and Dolls: A spectacular spectacle
I’ll be honest, I was worried that director Katie Heath-Whyte would struggle to get a strong cast together for the Magdalene Musical Production Society’s annual show this year, given the number of musicals taking place this term. Thankfully, my worries were misplaced and the cast of Guys and Dolls are living proof of the wealth of talented performers that we have in Cambridge.
The play started quite slowly and the cast struggled to hit their stride in the first few scenes, receiving little back from a quiet audience who were consistently unsure when it was appropriate to clap. However, the principle characters really lifted the energy as soon as they took to the stage.
I would love to say that Lauren Brown stole the show as Miss Adelaide, the long-suffering girlfriend of notorious gambler and lovable fool Nathan Detroit (Jonathon Goldstone). Her whiney voice suited the role perfectly without ever grating on the audience. She shone in her solo numbers, putting wonderful character into her phrasing and maintaining superb comic timing throughout. However, the other principles and much of the supporting cast were equally strong.
The music was brilliant and the cast was packed full of strong vocalists. Laura Makhoul as the missionary Sarah Brown had a pure, angelic voice and coped well with the difficult high notes throughout the show. Jack Needham, as high-class gambler Sky Masterson, was equally impressive, and many a female knee in the audience was made weak by his smooth tone. Musical Director Ryan Rodrigues should be commended as a lot of work has clearly gone into this production and has certainly paid off.
Guys and Dolls demands a strong male chorus but MMPS did not disappoint on this front. Every one of the gamblers engaged in quick paced, witty dialogue which really maintained high energy, and were also able to move well in the large choreographed scenes.
The set worked well and was flexible for the different locations required in the show. However, the scene changes were very slow and, despite being largely well timed to the score, required some refinement. Large set pieces were carried on and off through the entrances and exits which could have remained at the back of stage throughout, thereby slowing the pace which the actors were fighting so hard to keep up.
Overall, Guys and Dolls is well worth going to see. The music and acting is of a consistently high standard and the cast shine through in a production that is only a little rough around the edges. 68%, a strong 2.1