Tuesday, April 23

Guys and Dolls – Edinburgh University Footlights

When you witness talent, team-work and dedication combined with youth, you know you’re onto a winner. The Edinburgh University Footlights production of Guys and Dolls was superlative.

The orchestra was stellar (musical director, Emily Philips assisted by Amelia Brennan), the colourful costumes spot on (Tara Healey), the set so simple yet so effective (Holly Stephens) and the choreography was sharp, varied and hugely entertaining (Rosie Fletcher with Lyss Britton). Then, of course, there were the performers themselves: wonderful characterisation across the board was matched by confident voices and lithe bodies. Director Phee Simpson was blessed with an abundance of talent on this show.

Megan Le Brocq as Miss Adelaide in this classic musical cannot be faulted. She has a rich, wide-ranging voice and her use of squeaks and sneezes were highly amusing. Playing opposite Nina Harman, the rendition of Marry the Man Today, was brilliant. 

Nina Harman as Sarah Brown was truly delightful. When she first opened her mouth, I got shivers. She has crystal clear vocals and delivered great characterisation throughout. Vocally she was perfectly partnered with Sebastian Schneeberger as Sky Masterson, who, as a fourth-year music student, has a beautiful voice. He knocked it out of the park with his rendition of Luck be a Lady Tonight.

Photo: Andrew Morris

Benedict Barker as Nathan Detroit was great. He commanded that stage and was completely believable as the marriage-shy foil to Le Brocq’s ever loyal but deluded Adelaide. I really enjoyed his performance. As I did Benji Castella McDonald as Nicely-Nicely Johnson. His solo was superb. Castella McDonald and Dan J Bryant (playing Benny Southstreet) worked well as a comic team, with Bryant impressive as a mover.

Maria McStay’s diminutive frame, drowned in an oversized suit as Big Jule, gave the mobster stereotype a nice twist and was a good choice by director, Phee Simpson, whose aim was to deliver a production with the original charm plus a modern twist.

I would ideally mention every single cast member and musician as this was a genuine ensemble piece. It was full of energy and dynamism. This young cast can sing and dance like professionals. Their boundless energy was underpinned by a wonderful set of musicians. It was an inspired and impressive show. I had a great time, as did everyone else, judging by the standing ovation!

Reviewer: Kathleen Mansfield

Reviewed: 17th February 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.