Guys and Dolls

by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows

Directed by David Taylor

December 14th - 31st, 2002

The Tower Theatre performing at the Tower Theatre, Canonbury


Cast List

Sarah Brown : Victoria Flint
Arvide Abernathy : Tom Tillery
Agatha : Denyse Macpherson
Martha : Kate Fearnley
Calvin : Chris Holmes
Alice : Barbara Mathews
General Cartwright : Vyvian Shaw
Adelaide : Helen Dudley
Beulah Beauregarde : Nadine Allexant
Mimi Mulrooney : Clarisse East
Violet Shumberger : Samantha Gallop
Minnie Schultz : Michelle Ross
MC : Henry Chester
Waiter : Anthony Green
Sky Masterson : Dominic Ward
Nathan Detroit : David Sellar
Nicely-Nicely Johnson : Richard Willis
Benny Southstreet : Ralph Ward
Rusty Charlie : Bob Bradick
Big Jule : John Cornwell
Harry the Horse : Anthony Green
Angie the Ox : Jonathan Norris
Society Max : Richard Thornton
Liverlips Louie : Joe Radcliffe
Brandybottle Bates : Chris Holmes
Lt. Brannigan : Henry Chester
Joey Biltmore : Henry Chester


Production Team

Director : David Taylor
Assistant Director : Sara Randall
Musical Director : Jonathan Norris
Choreographer : Alison Kaby
Set Designer : Kim Haslam
Lighting Designer : Stephen Ley
Costumes : Kay Perversi
Hair design : Karen Killaspy
Sound : Stephen and Phillip Ley

Stage Manager : Phyllis Spencer
ASMs : Margaret Ley, Jean Carr, Martin Layton, Victoria Gerrard, Terry Mathews
Lighting operators : Jacky Devitt, Nathalie Lake
Sound operators : Jayne Lawrence, Pamela Towers
Set construction manager : Terry Mathews
Set construction : Andy Hind, Keith Syrett, John Feather, Alan McKenzie, Robert Myer, Mike Haslam, John Morton, Hilary Allan, Steven Hyndman, Claire Rice, Bill Leahy

In-house review by David Patrickson

David Patrickson has been involved at the Tower since 1984 but has been ducking Guys and Dolls for longer.

So I am sitting in my office one day, minding my own, when a message arrives. It is from a certain party I know who is called Roger Green. He is telling me that he has a big problem in that he needs somebody to do a review of a show named Guys and Dolls and he does not have anybody to do this review. He is desperate and he is asking me to do the review. I say OK because I do not see straight away that maybe there is some kind of insult implied by him asking me in the way he does. Then I think how I don't actually like Guys and Dolls on account of having once almost seen the movie all the way though.

So in the end I see Guys and Dolls all the way though. Twice. And I am blown away by what I see. And I wonder what did they do to make a movie that I could not see all the way though when all they had to do was this. There is this guy and his name is Nathan Detroit, but he is really a person called David Sellar. Now Nathan Detroit is a great guy on account of he runs a floating crap game for other guys who like to bet. The way I see it David Sellar is a really great Nathan Detroit on account of how I am really willing to believe not only that he is a guy who runs a crap game, but also that he is the kind of guy who is engaged to a doll for fourteen years. Which is great for the show but bad for the doll.

Now the doll in question is a certain performer at the HotBox Club by the name of Miss Adelaide, and she is real cute, but all she is looking for is to be married to Nathan Detroit. Miss Adelaide is Helen Dudley and she too is real cute. She sings and dances real well and she pulls on the heartstrings like nobody's business. In the end she gets her guy and sets about changing him. Which is what dolls do.

In this same part of Broadway is another guy who falls for another doll but this time it is a real case of opposites attract. He is Sky Masterson, a real high roller, and she is Sarah Brown, a real Holy Roller. Sky Masterson is Dominic Ward. Now he is a young guy, which is what Sky Masterson is not necessarily, but he has the look of a young guy who has been around. Which is where Sky Masterson has been. He is different class from the other Broadway guys as his horizon stretch from Las Vegas to Old Havana, which is where he takes Sarah. Also Sky does not wear a plaid suit. In Havana Sarah finds that she is really more of a doll than she at first thinks. Sarah is Victoria Flint, or perhaps it is the other way around. But she is a doll who smoulders in the way that only a doll who is out to trap Sky smoulders, which is good for the show and good for Sky. She is also a doll who sings more than somewhat.

Speaking as we are about plaid suits it is worth pointing out that the costumes by Kay Pervesi and Karen Killaspy's hair design are the cat's pyjamas, although that should not be taken literally.

There are other guys around this stretch of Broadway. Most notably Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Benny Southstreet and Rusty Charlie. They are particular friends of Nathan and his floating crap game and they wear plaid or stripes. They are also Richard Willis, Ralph Ward and Bob Bradick who are all as sharp as the suits they wear. The show takes a lift when they are involved so it is pretty high when they are through. They are funny and songs are a strong suit, especially where Richard Willis is concerned because when he sings, the theatre needs a new roof. John Cornwell is a heavy known as Big Jule from Chicago. He is most amusing and single minded in the pursuit of a crap game, although he is to Lake Michigan what Dick Van Dyke is to Bow Bells.

Tom Tillery as Arvide Abernathy is everybody's favourite grandad and a credit to the uniform he wears. He also knows the rules of the game and welching is out. He helps Sarah run the mission with Denyse Macpherson, Kate Fearnley, Barbara Matthews and Chris Holmes as the brass section. Vyvian Shaw is General Cartwright who learns that good can come out of gambling.

Adelaide is not the only doll who works the HotBox. Oh no, it's a real classy joint, with dolls a plenty, all of whom are constructed the way a doll is meant to be constructed. They sing and move too, which, with the inclusion of Miss Adelaide, is what the show at the HotBox is. The doll who is to be credited as far as the movement of the girls is concerned is Alison Kaby, and the dolls are Clarisse East, Samantha Gallop, Michelle Ross, Nadine Alexander and, on occasions, Barbara Mathews. And a very good show it is, moreover.

Being as how the show is a musical, music plays a big part in proceedings, and hearing it is equally important. It is very good music played by a very good band, even though they are not on the premises at the time. Jonathan Norris is the musical director as well as being Angie the Ox, a denizen of Broadway. If he is not well satisfied on both counts, he should be. The sound design by Stephen and Phillip Ley is clear and precise and adds to the entertainment.

Elsewhere around Broadway, floating between crap games and the racetrack are certain parties by the name of Harry the Horse, Society Max, Liverlips Louie and Brandybottle Bates. Anthony Green, Richard Thornton, Joe Radcliffe and Chris Holmes are guys who look like they know one side of a dice from the other and can read the racing page in a mirror. Enforcing law and order in this part of the city is Lieutenant Brannigan. Always two minutes behind the action Henry Chester is no Officer Dibble, but he ain't no Sam Spade neither. Although he looks good in a trench coat and snap brimmed fedora, so he must be a good cop.

The direction of David Taylor, with the assistance of Sara Randall is dashing, as befits this part of town, and the pace seldom drops a beat. The set by Kim Haslam is stunning, particularly the sewer, which, as is only proper, is applauded on the opening night. Very clever too is the lighting, which is the particular territory of Stephen Ley. Lighting a sewer is not a job to be taken on lightly.