Trevelyan College Musical Society
Flicking through the programme of Anything Goes, I was intrigued to see how TCMS would manage to convey a story containing disguise, heart-break, sailors, angels and gangster priests in a venue that felt somewhat like a warehouse. However, as soon as the fantastic band (led by musical directors Pip Harland and Jo Turner) filled the room with the Cole Porter overture, it was clear that this production (directed by Micheal Huband) would surpass expectations of a college musical.
Despite a fairly slow start, the whole cast lit up the stage in the musical number “Bon Voyage”. The harmonies were extremely tight- as with all of the large chorus numbers - and this, along with the simple choreography and vibrant costumes made this number a particular highlight. The male chorus of sailors should be particularly commended for their charming rendition of “There’ll Always be a Lady Fair”, which despite some slightly shaky harmonies at certain moments, brought smiles to the faces of the whole audience as soon as they marched into view. Unfortunately, the stage seemed rather too small to house the entire cast, making Anything Goes and the finale in particular seem rather crowded, especially when more complicated choreography was introduced. Nevertheless, the performances of choreographers Emma Olley and Fleur Baikie as “The Angels” along with Sarah McMullan and Caitlin McEwan were flawless, all four wowing the audience with the range of dance styles presented, whilst simultaneously making all of the females in the room slightly sick with jealousy (is it necessary to be able to extend your leg above your head without even a hint of a grimace?!)
In terms of individual performances, there were several that clearly shone through and raised the level of the show, which had the tendency to drag slightly when these characters were not on stage. Natalie Goodwin as Hope Harcourt was exceptional. The beautiful tone of her voice stood out even in chorus numbers, and her performance of “Goodbye Little Dream” was performed with such elegant simplicity that I had shivers down my spine from beginning to end. Another outstanding performance was given by George Haynes as priest/gangster/china-man “Moonface Martin”. He exuded confidence on stage, and had a natural charisma that made him extremely easy to watch throughout, even in a character that could easily have become a pantomime caricature.
Sophie Blaney and Adam Thompson played “Reno Sweeney” and “Billy Crocker”, the evangelising night-club singer and the slightly hopeless Wall Street broker who plot together to end Hope’s engagement to the British noble-man “Sir Evelyn Oakleigh.” The scenes between Reno and Billy initially tended to feel slightly forced, particularly in the number “You’re the Top”, where neither seemed to be entirely comfortable in their movements. Nevertheless, the number was rescued by the perpetual energy of the band, along with Sophie Blaney’s sultry and powerful vocals, which stood out from the outset.
Micheal Galea and Josh Edwards excelled in their comedy roles as Billy’s alcoholic boss “Elisha Whitney” and Hope’s fiancé “Sir Evelyn Oakleigh”, Josh Edwards’ shameless performance of “The Gypsy In Me” leaving the whole audience in hysterics (particular thanks should go to whoever sourced the Velcro trousers, whipped off to reveal some spectacular black flares.) Both remained in character immaculately, providing constant laughs whenever they appeared.
Credit should be given to Micheal Huband for putting together such a polished, and in moments, extremely professional production of such a high octane show. The energy of the cast and band and the strong acting of some of the principles meant that any awkward moments were quickly recovered from. I extremely enjoyed the performance, and would recommend making the trek to Trevs to witness some of the remarkable talent that they have to offer.
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16 February 2012