Tuesday, August 16

Anything Goes – Barbican Theatre

Put together three pairs of (almost) lovers and their muddled relationships, against the backdrop of a grand ship with scintillating choreography and music, and you get a spirited production of Anything Goes. There isn’t very much else to the plot, just a classic case of entangled couples, falling in love and attempting to see it through. But the story is not what the audience comes for. It is the escape into this magical world of a magnificent ship where everyone talks in song and dance, makes silly jokes and enthrals the audience with contagious energy!

Cole Porter’s classic masterpiece is back with an award-winning cast including Kerry Ellis as Reno Sweeney, Denis Lawson as Moonface Martin, Simon Callow as Elisha Whitney, Bonnie Langford as Evangeline Harcourt, Samuel Edwards as Billy Crocker, Carly Mercedes Dyer as Erma, Nicole-Lily Baisden as Hope Harcourt and Haydn Oakley as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. With director-choreographer Kathleen Marshall’s tap-dancing sailors to sensational dinner party dances, the show makes you sit up, clap along and have a jolly good time! Although boasting of a multi-star cast, there are moments when the tension slips and the drudgery of performing night after night begins to slow ever so slightly. This, perhaps, is an observation made simply from watching from a seat quite close to the stage.

The sets by Derek McLane dazzle as much as they add to the enormity of the production. The classic combination of white and gold is met with delicately designed detail that serves the action well. With a screen for a backdrop, day turns to night seamlessness, albeit, slightly jarring in contrast to the finesse of the physical structures. The set transitions between (and even within) scenes are slick and have choreographic value. Played in the gorgeous Barbican Theatre, the set perfectly complements the grandeur of the space and seems almost like an extended part of the auditorium. Add to this, costumes by Jon Morell, and you’ve got a feast for your eyes!

The show has every ingredient for a big, fun, commercial musical. Music that leaves you pumped? Check. Dancing that makes you hoot? Check. Acting with energy and precision? Check. Impressive sets that effortlessly glide around? Check. Attempt at humour? Check, if literal jokes and a bit of slapstick are your jam. Run away to a fantastical world and let your worries melt away for a couple of hours, even though it doesn’t make sense? Check. A favourite to be flocked by senior audiences, it makes for a light-hearted, easy-to-follow show even after a long day of school/work for all ages!

Anything Goes plays until 3rd September 2022 and tickets can be found at https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2022/event/anything-goes

Reviewer: Aditi Dalal

Reviewed: 15th July 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

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