Guys and Dolls – 2010

Written on September 20th, 2010

Guys and Dolls

G&D3

Written by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows
Music & Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Directed & Choreographed by Michael Lichtefeld
Musical direction by Steve Thomas
Performed by Jackie Mustakas, Eddie Glen, Karen Coughlin, Paul McQuillan and company
Drayton Entertainment, Drayton
September 19 to October 9, 2010
Reviewed by Mary Alderson

Saints and Sinners Clash with Lively Laughter

It’s an enjoyable ride, travelling north to the Drayton Festival Theatre. You pass through Stratford, then up through Mennonite country and on to the sleepy village of Drayton. And while the village itself seems lethargic on a Sunday afternoon, the action on the renovated, larger stage at the Drayton Festival Theatre is anything but.

Guys and Dolls opened Sunday, September 19 with a lively cast, energetically singing and dancing their way through this old Broadway favourite. Guys and Dolls premiered in 1950, the story of the clash between the Save-Our-Soul Mission, which is a Salvation Army-like group, and tough gamblers involved in an illegal crap game.

Eddie Glen is excellent as Nathan Detroit, the likeable organizer of New York’s longest running floating crap game. Glen’s comedic timing is spot on and he possesses a charismatic stage presence. Even though Nathan Detroit is an illegal gambler who won’t marry his sweet girlfriend, we love him all the same, and Glen plays the lovable rogue well.

His girlfriend, Adelaide, is a Broadway showgirl, played hilariously by Jackie Mustakas. Mustakas has the New York accent down pat, and sings in it, too. Adelaide and Nathan have been engaged for 14 years, and Mustakas takes full advantage of humour created by her desire to give up being a Broadway dancer to become a housewife with a picket fence. Glen and Mustakas are delightful together, each building on the other’s comedic talents. Both are laugh-out-loud funny.

Karen Coughlin is the prim and proper Sarah Brown, while Paul McQuillan plays Sky Masterson, the gambler who loses a bet on his ability to attract women. They meet when Masterson has to entice her to travel to Cuba with him to win his bet. And even though they come from two different worlds, they eventually fall in love. There should be more chemistry between Coughlin and McQuillan, to make this mismatched couple’s relationship believable.

The chorus numbers are exceptional, in particular, all the gamblers dancing around while throwing the dice in The Crapshooters Dance. This group of young man tear up the new bigger stage at Drayton Theatre with unbelievable energy. This number is followed by McQuillan singing the familiar “Luck be a Lady Tonight”, made famous by Frank Sinatra in the movie version.

Mustakas as Adelaide, along with the Hotbox Girls, tap dance their way across the stage after removing their mink stoles and ball gowns, to reveal lacy showgirl costumes, in ‘Take Back your Mink”. Again the energy is amazing.

Another favourite scene is when all the gamblers are finally taken to the Mission to repent of their sins. They sing the gospel number “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat”. Allan Gillespie as Nicely-Nicely has a great solo as he testifies. Glen as Nathan Detroit leads the group of tough-guy gamblers as if they were a church choir, and they bring down the rafters.

William Fisher as Sarah’s grandfather sings the heart-warming “More I cannot wish you”, and Jill Diane Fillion is the strict Mission General who loosens up with some dancing in the pews.

Michel LeFleche is an excellent thug, along with the visiting hood, big guy Jule played by Lee Siegel. They have the cadence of the gangster language down pat. Michael Rawley as Lieutenant Brannigan is the nemesis of the gamblers. The rest of the cast, Carla Bennett, Melanie McInenly, Todd Noel, Stephen Roberts, Mike Tracz, Michelle Black, Duff MacDonald, Ray Hogg, Kimberley Rampersad, Matthew Rossoff, Galen Johnson, and Chad McFadden are an excellent ensemble of singers and dancers.

Costumes are bright and colourful – all the gamblers are dressed in pin stripe suits, in many different hues. The women are attired in interesting dresses appropriate to the 1940s, while the Mission folks have very realistic Salvation Army hats and capes. Hairstyles are pure 1940s. The cast is commended for quick costume and wig changes.

Set designers took full advantage of Drayton’s larger stage, creating a seedy Broadway street scene, the Mission and even New York sewers.

Credit goes to Director Michael Lichtefeld for keeping the show lively and funny, and not letting it show its age. Lichtefeld has directed several Broadway productions and spent nine seasons at the Stratford Festival. His vast experience shows in this polished production.

Guys and Dolls continues with eight shows a week until October 9 at Drayton Festival Theatre, Drayton. Tickets are available at 1-888-449-4463, or check out www.draytonentertainment.com

2 Responses to “Guys and Dolls – 2010” | Add Your Thoughts

  1. Sounds like a great show: well worth the trip to Drayton. Our son and his wife live in Palmerston, quite close to Drayton, so I’m recommending to them to go to Guys and Dolls.

  2. I have seen this show and while it IS great, your take on Sky and Sarah is embarrassingly off. Their chemistry was brilliant the night I saw the show.

    John

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