Review: Showstoppers' Guys and Dolls

We’ve all heard the story before… a guy and a girl are from two different worlds, the guy enters a bet to win the girl’s heart and ends up falling for […]

4 half starsGuys and Dolls

We’ve all heard the story before… a guy and a girl are from two different worlds, the guy enters a bet to win the girl’s heart and ends up falling for her unknowingly… you get the gist.

I should have been bored by this plot-line; it reminded me of all those 90’s rom-coms we all remember so well and love so dearly. However, I was pleasantly surprised! The SUSU Showstoppers put a fresh spin on this overworked plot, and with upbeat songs and sparkling enthusiasm were able to give an exciting and fun-filled performance, guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a bounce in your step.

The play opens on the streets of New York City in the 1940s, and we are soon introduced to a cast of self-confessed gambling delinquents, vivacious show-girls and devout missionaries, desperately attempting to save the souls of these terrible sinners. What resulted was a lively, witty and light-hearted performance that mirrored the hijinks and mischiefs of a Shakespearean comedy. Jokes rarely fell flat, and when they did you just didn’t care because the next one was just around the corner and ten times as hilarious. The audience certainly thought so too; the theatre was constantly full of chuckles and claps.

Of course, the play had a few downfalls. At times the microphones did not pick up the vocals (a great loss!) and the dancers were not always in-sync with each other, despite the choreography being excellently inventive. The main issue I had, which I believe is the fault of the script rather than the actors, was that a few scenes were drawn out when they were not exciting or eventful enough to do so, leading to me staring at the stage in utter confusion as I tried to figure out what was going on. However, these were small problems in an otherwise brilliant performance; I often felt so swept away by the cheery songs and quick one-liners that it was difficult to find fault.

All the actors and singers were brilliant, especially Robyn Fryer who positively lit up the stage with her enthusiasm and sparkling, hilarious portrayal of Miss Adelaide. She was definitely the star of the show and there was never a moment when she was on stage that I wasn’t smiling. I also thoroughly enjoyed Anna-Marie Pinnell who, as Sergeant Sarah, had the most beautiful, angelic voice I have heard in a long time. Of course, all the actors were brilliant and you could tell they were having an absolute whale of a time. I was amazed at the high standard of vocals in this play, every voice seemed perfectly in tune (well, to my untrained ears!) and so powerful I had to remind myself that I was watching a student production, not a West End show! The songs were catchy and upbeat, and remained in my head for hours afterwards (watch out for Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat – I must apologise to my house mates as I am still singing it constantly in the shower!).

If you want to get lost in the hijinks and shenanigans of swinging 1940’s New York, this play is for you! Or if you love a old-fashioned, feel-good musical with songs that will uplift any mood, go and see Showstoppers’ production of Guys and Dolls before it ends on Saturday, you won’t regret it!

Guys and Dolls is on at the Annex Theatre 26th February – 1st March. Student tickets cost £7.