Guys and Dolls – Review – Sheffield Crucible
By Helen Johnston, December 2019
Luck was a lady for the cast of this high energy musical comedy who earned a well-deserved standing ovation for this production of the well-known story of saints and sinners set in 1930s New York.
Natalie Casey stole the show as Miss Adelaide, the showgirl desperate to get married to her gambling addict fiancé Nathan Detroit, played with flair by Martin Marquez.
Casey is superb in song and dance, her facial expressions and side glances to the audience earning her rousing laughter and applause.
Miss Adelaide has the arduous task of trying to get Detroit down the aisle after a 14-year engagement. He is more interested in organising crap games than saying ‘I do’ and continually makes promises he doesn’t keep.
Detroit has a bet with fellow gambler Sky Masterton that he won’t manage to get the prim Salvation Army sergeant Sarah Brown to visit Havana with him. Kadiff Kirwan plays the smooth-talking Masterton with ease, capturing his confident nonchalance as he charms Sarah into agreeing to the trip.
Alex Young is in fine voice as Sarah, who remains uptight until Masterton, and Cuba, work their magic to have her casting off her reserve and joining in the fun of a dancing crowd.
Detroit’s gambling crowd include Nicely Nicely Johnson, played by the rotund TJ Lloyd, whose joyful rendition of ‘Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat’ earns high praise from the audience.
This takes place at a Sally Army midnight prayer meeting attended by 12 of the gambling miscreants after Masterton wins yet another bet.
Guys and Dolls was written by Damon Runyon who based Detroit and Masterton on real people. The character of Big Julie, played with just the right amount of menace by the gravelly-voiced Dafydd Emyr, is typical of American gangsters of the era.
Choreographer Matt Flint deserves high praise for the dance routines which make full use of the revolving stage and lift the spirits. While the cast deserve praise for their New York accents which didn’t sound forced as they sometimes can from British actors.
If you’re looking for music, laughter and dance over the Christmas season, and an alternative to a pantomime, then Guys and Dolls is the perfect present to give yourself. The only flaw was the show’s length of three hours which felt just that bit too long and indeed some audience members crept out before the end.
Despite this, and judging by the reaction of last night’s audience, The Crucible has another hit on its hands.
images: Johan Persson