Left – Ben Wilson and the cast of Guys and Dolls. Photo – Michael Moore (Moore Photography)
The Q Theatre in Queanbeyan, with its wide proscenium, compact seating and good sound quality, was home to one of Broadway's most popular musicals, Guys and Dolls.
The guys are the likeable hoods, gamblers and gangsters of New York City and the dolls are, in general, their molls as portrayed by Damon Runyon in his short stories. One, however, is about as different as she can get – Sarah Brown, the pert and pretty leader of the local branch of the Salvation Army, out to save their souls. She was played by Kitty McGarry whose attractive singing voice was just right for the role and she successfully portrayed the passion she had for her impossible task and her love for Sky Masterson, a VIP in the world of the baddies – of course. Sky's voice was pleasant enough but it was inescapable that he is a man somewhat too old for the role.
Nathan Detroit (Anthony Swadling) had two aims throughout. The first was to find venues for his illegal crap games. He came across well as a man seriously discomforted by being leant on by the cheating, bully Big Jule (Chris Bennie) and the frustrated, but ever diligent Lt. Brannigan (Paul Jackson) out to catch them red handed. The second was to avoid getting married despite his 14 year engagement to Miss Adelaide, the feisty, gutsy, stylish, attractive and really likeable brightest light of the lively show played by Tina Robinson.
Front of house was well managed even though the programmes, treasures for the cast no doubt with numerous photographs of them and their theatre CVs, were expensive for the audience and, without so much of that content, could surely have been lighter on the pocket.
This was a large cast of 40 and the production team looked after them well. It is no easy task to make good costumes and to design make up for so many people but they were very well served in that regard. The lighting was good and the choreography apt. The choral work was very good and the Big Band of 24 was a delight and very ably conducted by Jenna Hinton.
The staging of this show was not easy because the Q Theatre has no facilities to fly props and sets. They dealt with that problem to some extent by using triangular-shaped tall blocks that could be seen in any one of three ways to represent the required scene (even a sewer!) and a quick turn-around of them did the trick. Getting furniture and props on and off from the wings was efficiently done although it did noticeably slow the show down. Altogether, it was a bright, joyful production that made the most of its good songs, particularly Adelaide and the Hot Box Dancers in "Take back your mink", "Luck be a lady" with Sky, the Crapshooters and cast, and the forever popular "Sit down, you're rockin' the boat."
The Queanbeyan Players have a good programme planned for next year, keeping quality musicals available for Canberrans.
Queanbeyan Players presents
Guys and Dolls
by music and lyrics Frank Loesser | book Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows
Venue: The Q - Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre | 253 Crawford St, Queanbeyan
Dates: 03-11-2017 – 12-11-2017
Tickets: $48.00 – $43.00
Bookings: 02 6285 6290 | www.theq.net.au