14th December 2016 – 29th January 2017
Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Guy Bolton, PG Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay & Russel Crouse
Directed by John Plews
Madcap antics aboard an ocean liner bound from New York to London featuring the songs:
Blow Gabriel Blow
You’re the Top
I Get a Kick Out of You
Produced by KATIE PLEWS for OVATION
Presented by arrangement with TAMS-WITMARK MUSIC LIBRARY, INC. NEW YORK
Timothy Booth – Murray the Steward
Tim graduated from the Northern Ballet school in 2014.
His theatre credits include: principal Singer/Dancer (NCL Cruise Lines); Roger (An Evening of Dirty Dancing UK/Norwegian Tour); Fred the Zebra (V/O Commercial, B&Q)
Television Credits : Dancer, The Slammer (BBC Television).
Credits whilst training include: Vocalist/Featured Dancer, A Musical World (Jazz Galore Theatre Company); Corps De Ballet, Swan Lake (Manchester City Ballet) .
Samantha Dorsey – Hope Harcourt
Samantha graduated from The Urdang Academy in 2012.
Credits include: Cosette in Les Miserables 2012-2014 (Cameron Mackintosh Ltd, Trevor Nunn/ John Caird); Cinderella, Cinderella; (Lichfield Garrick, Adrian Jackson/Ian Adams).
TV Credits include: The Olivier Awards (ITV)
Chloe Adele Edwards – Bonnie (Moonface’s Moll)
Chloé Adele Edwards graduated from The MGA Academy of Performing Arts in 2016.
Credits whilst in training Include: Guest at Pizza Express Live with Kerry Ellis (The Pheasantry), Guest at Cabaret club with Kerry Ellis (Beyond BroadwayProductions), Ida in HONK! (The Assembly Roxy), Thea in Spring Awakening (The Kings Theatre Edinburgh), Ensemble in Godspell (Assembly Roxy), Guest at Cabaret Club with Anton Stephens (Beyond Broadway Productions), Guest at Cabaret Club with Natalie Weiss (Beyond Broadway Productions), Solo vocalist at An Evening with Jonathan Reid Gealt (Beyond Broadway Productions).
Other Credits Include: Stella in STELLA (Short Film), Dancer in SHVLLOWS (Music Video), Ensemble Vocalist for Rod Stewart’s Christmas Spectacular (BBC).
Twitter: @ _ChloeAdele
Taryn Erickson – Reno Sweeney
Taryn completed her professional training at the Australian Institute of Music and the LaSalle College of the Arts.
Taryn’s theatre credits include Witch / alternate Seeker in Incanto (Sentosa Singapore), Ensemble in A Very Royal Ball (Wild Rice, Singapore) and Phaedra in La Cage Aux Folles (Wild Rice, Singapore).
She has also performed as Mother Nature in Smurfs Live, Princess Alexa in Barbie & the Secret Door, Mrs Newsynosey in Geronimo Stilton and Betty in Thomas Saves The Day for Millennium Entertainment and AKS Live Events across South East Asia and the Middle East and as the Scarecrow in Looking for Oz through Wales with TAG.
Taryn is delighted to be making her UK musical debut as Reno Sweeney at the Gatehouse.
Lucie Horsfall – Chastity (Reno’s Angel) / Assistant Dance Captain
Lucie trained at Laine Theatre Arts and graduated in 2015.
Credits include: Singer/Dancer in various shows on P+O Australia (Grayboy), Dance Captain and Ensemble in Wonderful Town
Credits whilst training include: Holly in The Wedding Singer; Angie in Our House
Lucie is also a part of My Favourite Things, a vintage singing and dancing act.
Lucas James – Bishop Henry T. Dobson / Captain Macleod
Lucas trained at the MTA.
Theatre credits include: Liam/Dance Captain in Just the Ticket; Dance Captain in Something Old, Something New; Eddie in Sunshine on Leith (all at Bridewell Theatre); Scaramouche in Beauty and the Beast (Bernie Grant Arts Centre); Harvey Johnson in Bye Bye Birdie; (Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre); Murph Dunne/Tucker McElroy in The Blues Brothers, Italian national tour; Featured singer in Cool Rider: Live!, Lyric Theatre; Ensemble in The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes (Bishopsgate Institute); Alternate Watson/Sherlock in The Sherlock Holmes Experience, Les Enfants Terribles.
Lucas would like to dedicate this performance to his Nan, who sadly passed away during rehearsals.
Jack Keane – Sir Evelyn Oakleigh
Training: Guildford School of Acting (GSA) (1st class BA (Hons) Musical Theatre, 2016).
Jack recently made his professional debut as Lonigan in Wonderful Town (Ye Olde Rose and Crown).
Credits whilst training include: Chip in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Ghost – The Musical (Ivy Arts Centre); Hapgood in Anyone Can Whistle (Mill Studio); understudy Reecey in Our House (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre); Motel in Fiddler on the Roof, Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady and Clarence in Richard III.
Concert credits include: The Oliviers in Concert (Royal Festival Hall) and Stages – Josh Groban UK Tour (Hammersmith Apollo and Bridgewater Hall).
Lewis McBean – Charlie the Reporter / Mr Grandy the Purser
Training: BA (Hons) Musical Theatre at the Guildford School of Acting (2013-16)
Credits whilst training: Lewis in Our House, understudy Chip in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Hospital Ghost in Ghost the Musical, Cooley in Anyone Can Whistle, Mr Andrews in Titanic the Musical, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Higgins in My Fair Lady.
Other Credits: Pip in Great Expectations: The Musical (Rose Theatre, Kingston), Mable Stark: Tiger Tamer (workshop), Perseus in Pandora the Musical (workshop).
Lewis will be making his professional debut in Anything Goes since graduating this year.
Jack McCann – Billy Crocker
Jack graduated from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in December 2016 with a 1st Class Honours Degree in Musical Theatre.
Credits include: Mr. Connolly in The Railway Children (Alex Parker Theatre Company, Guildford Chamber Music Festival); Val LaMar in Babes In Arms (All Star Productions, Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre); Dead Duck in The Homosexual Necrophiliac Duck Opera (Natural History Museum) and Jack Saul in The Sins of Jack Saul (Above The Stag Theatre) for which he was nominated for the 2016 BroadwayWorldUK West End Award for Best Actor in a New Musical.
Credits whilst training include: Timothy Dawes in Salad Days; Elisha J. Whitney in Anything Goes; Fredrik Egerman in A Little Night Music; Keith Nicholson in Spend, Spend, Spend and Christopher West in When Midnight Strikes.
During his time at Trinity Laban Jack was a Leverhulme Arts Scholar and he would like to take this opportunity to thank the Leverhulme Trust for their support during his training.
David Pendlebury – Moonface Martin
David trained at Leicester University (BA Hons) and London College of Music (ALCM).
David’s theatre credits include: West End Kiss of the Spider Woman (Shaftesbury Theatre); City of Angels (Prince of Wales Theatre); The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre); Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Dominion Theatre); HMS Pinafore (Savoy Theatre and Shubert Theatre, Connecticut, USA); Disney’s The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre); The Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary (Royal Albert Hall)
Fringe: Edmund Kean: Child of the Sun (King’s Head Theatre, Islington); Once Upon A Mattress (Union Theatre, London); Profumo The Musical (Waterloo East Theatre, London)
Regional: Jesus Christ Superstar (Civic Theatre, Chelmsford); Leonardo, A Portrait of Love (Old Fire Station, Oxford); The Pirates of Penzance, Little Shop of Horrors and Me & My Girl (Kilworth House Theatre)
Tours: Chess (Original National & International Tour); Jesus Christ Superstar (20th Anniversary National Tour).
Workshops: The Last Maharajah (Wyndham’s Theatre, London)
Charity: Chairman of West End Cares (1994 – 2003) & Theatrecares (2003 – 2008); Founder, Chairman & Trustee of the charity, the Make A Difference Trust (trading as TheatreMAD) (2008 – 2015), producing fundraising events such as Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares, A West End Christmas & the annual Theatre Bucket Collections Appeal.
Chloe Porter – Charity (Reno’s Angel) / Dance Captain
Chloe trained at Performers College, graduating with a National Diploma in Dance / Musical Theatre.
For Ovation: Dance Captain in Kiss Me Kate (Upstairs at The Gatehouse).
Credits include: Ruth in Thoroughly Modern Millie (Adelphi); Dance Captain / Vocalist in NOW POP! 2015 – Live In Concert (Towngate Theatre); Understudy Frida in Waterloo UK (Mad About Productions); Singer / Dancer in Thoroughly Modern Musicals (Spa Theatre); Backing Vocalist in The Monte Carlo Rat Pack (Spirit Productions -Monte Carlo Sporting Club); Lead Vocalist for Fred Olsen Cruises (Mirage Productions); Production Singer for Costa Cruises (Costa Productions); Dancer in Celebrating Bond (Towngate Theatre).
Chloe also performs regularly as a solo artist and with vintage girl group Elle and The Pocket Belles.
Nova Skipp – Mrs Wadsworth T. Harcourt
Nova trained at the Arts Educational Schools, London.
Theatre credits include: West End: Aspects of Love (Prince of Wales); Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s); Salad Days (Vaudeville Theatre & tour); The Sound of Music (London Palladium)Tours: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; Annie; Jellylorum in Cats (Stuttgart); cover Anna in The King & I; Miss Cuff in Acorn Antiques; Girl 1 in The Two Most Perfect Things; cover Beverly & Susan in Abigail’s Party; Auntie Lou in Carrie’s War; cover Ethel in The Smallest Show on Earth.
Repertory: The Sound of Music (Sheffield Crucible); Kes (York Theatre Royal); A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Troilus & Cressida (Regent’s Park); Ado Annie in Oklahoma!, LV in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice; Jan in Bedroom Farce and Carrie in Carousel (all at Yeovil Octagon); Julie Jordan in Carousel (Perth Theatre, Scotland), Janet in The Rocky Horror Show and Sandy in Grease (Gaiety Theatre, Isle of Man); Side by Side by Sondheim and Grace Farrell in Annie (Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage); Kes (Derby Theatre); Dora Springer in Pardon me, Prime Minister and Judith Bliss in Hayfever (both at Windsor Theatre Royal).
Fringe: Young Sally in Follies (Landor); Emma Goldman in Assassins (Pleasance, Islington); Mrs Smith in Meet Me in St Louis (Landor); Meg in Damn Yankees (Landor); Kathryn in Apartment 40C (St James Theatre).
Nova is also an experienced cabaret performer, and has made several recordings, including Children’s Musical Theatre for CRS Records.
For more information, please see www.novaskipp.com
Represented by www.bba.management
Izabel Alvares Florence – Ching Ling / Stage Manager
For Ovation: Izzy stage managed and appeared in Legally Blonde the Musical
Izabel Florence moved from her country (Brazil) at the age of 18. She graduated from East 15 Acting School with a BA 1st class Honours in Acting and Community Theatre. Since then she has Stage Managed for Circus Company Extraordinary Bodies, Cirque Bijou, Bread and Roses and Upstairs at the Gatehouse.
She has also performed for the Theatre Companies Coco Loco, Generik Vapeur, Tony Clifton Circus and RIFT, and has Performed, Stage Managed, Facilitated and Founded Rooted Moon Theatre Company, with which she runs Theatre and Arts Festivals in Italy every year.
She also teaches yoga and is currently finishing her part time Masters degree in Berlin in Integral Movement and Performance Practice.
Musical Director / Keys 1 – Dan Glover
Assistant MD / Keys 2 – Oliver Hance
Trumpet – James Mayhew
Woodwind – Bryony Rickard / Sophie Creaner
Bass – Andrew Richards
Drums – Jake Perrett
John Plews – Director
John trained at LAMDA and spent several years in Rep including a long stay at the Theatre Royal, Windsor. He has directed and produced numerous shows including many for cruise lines Princess, Cunard and P&O.
At Upstairs at the Gatehouse John has directed Legally Blonde the Musical; Singin’ in the Rain; The Blonde Bombshells of 1943; Kiss Me Kate; Avenue Q; Crazy for You; Iceberg – Right Ahead!; Woody Allen’s Play It Again Sam; A Slice of Saturday Night; Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story; High Society; Come Back to the 5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean; Lee Hall’s Cooking With Elvis; Victoria Wood’s Talent; It’s Only Make Believe; Forever Plaid (also Edinburgh and National Tour); The Wiz; Hot Mikado; Little Shop of Horrors; Return to the Forbidden Planet and From a Jack to a King.
John co-wrote Wallis ‘ A Certain Person’, There’s a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis, Iceberg Right Ahead!, It’s Only Make Believe and wrote the stage adaptation of The Young Ones a musical based on the iconic 1961 film.
John, along with Katie, is responsible for the day to day running of Upstairs at the Gatehouse.
Chris Whittaker – Choreographer
Training: London Studio Centre
For Ovation: Singin’ In The Rain (2014 Off West End Award best choreographer finalist)
Choreography Credits: Aladdin (Millfield Theatre), Peter Pan (Dubai), Through The Mill (Southwark Playhouse), Grimm (Workshop), Lucky Stiff (Lylian Baylis Theatre), You Won’t Succeed On Broadway If You Don’t Have Any Jews (St. James Theatre & International), Gatsby (Arts Theatre), Hamlet (Italy), A Catered Affair (London Theatre Workshop), Beauty & The Beast, Pinocchio, The Jungle Book (UAE), Romeo & Juliet (Ashcroft Theatre), The Apple Tree, Little Me (Rose and Crown Theatre), Assassins (The Pleasance), Just Another Love Story (Warren Venues, Brighton), Gossamer (Original Workshop).
As Assistant choreographer: Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin & Beauty & The Beast (Hexagon, Reading), Gigglebiz & Zingzillas (Cbeebies).
Chris teaches and choreographs at various professional colleges including The MTA (dep. head of dance), Arts Educational and GSA. Chris is represented by John Rogerson at The Soundcheck Group.
Chris would like to thank John & Katie for inviting him back for his second Ovation production and huge thanks to his wonderful wife for all her support.
Dan Glover – Musical Director / Piano / Orchestrations
Training: University of Edinburgh, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts
As musical director/composer: Can You Hear Me Running? (Pleasance Theatre); The Glorious Damnation of Eddie Small (Union Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe); Mirror Me (Greenwich Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe).
As Associate/Assistant MD: Avenue Q (UK tour); American Idiot (Arts Theatre); Side by Side by Sondheim (Brockley Jack)
Emily Bestow – Designer
Training: Central St Martins, First Class Hons in Performance Design and Practice; RADA
For Ovation: Wallis ‘A Certain Person’
Designs include: The MGM Story (Upstairs at the Gatehouse & UK Tour); Orion and the Dark (UK Tour); Spent (UK Tour); Federico (Puppet Design); The Wild at Heart (Hornsey Town Hall), The Merchant of Venice (Ye Olde Rose and Crown); Broke Britannia! (The Bridewell Centre); L’enfant et les Sortilèges (Sage Gateshead); Monsters (Kings Cross Studio Theatre); Verdi’s Macbeth (Platform Theatre); Soul Trip (The Roundhouse, Camp Bestival); 0/00 (Platform Theatre); Hidden (Queen Elizabeth Hall)
As Design Assistant: For Nick Barnes: The First Hippo on the Moon (UK and International Tour); Cambridge City Opera On The Axis of this World; Broken Circle Productions Seeds (Short Film), For Eleanor Field as well as Puppet Maker: Nutcracker! The Musical (Pleasance Theatre), Samling Academy: Albert Herring (Sage Gateshead)
Harriet Fowler – Costume Supervisor
Harriet graduated from Central Saint Martins with a BA (Hons) in Performance Design and Practice, focusing on costume. Harriet works primarily in Theatre, from Costume Supervisor and Wardrobe Assistant, to Dresser.
For Ovation: Wallis ‘A Certain Person’ (Costume Supervisor, Upstairs at the Gatehouse)
Other credits include: Sheppey (Assistant Costume Supervisor, Orange Tree Theatre); Side Show (Wardrobe Assistant, Southwark Playhouse); The MGM Story (Wardrobe Assistant, Upstairs at the Gatehouse); Journey to the Centre of The Earth (Design Assistant, The Pleasance Theatre); Alice’s Adventures Underground (Assistant Maker, The Vaults); Pinning Butterflies (Designer, The Royal Albert Hall); Macbeth: The Opera (Designer, Platform Theatre); Eclipse (Designer, Platform Theatre); The Importance of Being Earnest (Assistant Designer, Touring Production)
As a Dresser she has worked on Swan Lake; Cinderella; Madam Butterfly and Sunset Boulevard (The London Coliseum)
Sam Waddington – Lighting Designer
Training: Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
For Ovation: Wallis ‘A Certain Person’, Legally Blonde the Musical (Upstairs at the Gatehouse)
Designs include: Legally Blonde the Musical (Watford Palace Theatre), The Great Divide (Finborough Theatre), The Past is a Tattooed Sailor (Old Red Lion Theatre), Richard III (Swan Theatre, RSC/Leicester Square Theatre), RAZ (UK Tour), Sweet Charity (Embassy Theatre), Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Three Tryers (Landor Theatre), The World Goes Round, The Clockmaker’s Daughter in Concert, Rhythm of Life (St James Theatre Studio), La Ronde (Etcetera Theatre), Red the Wolf Slayer (Webber Douglas Studio)
As Associate Lighting Designer: For Matt Daw: Wasted (West Yorkshire Playhouse), For Simon Gethin Thomas: Battleface, One Cold Dark Night (Bush Theatre), For Nick Moran: Singin’ in the Rain (Watford Palace Theatre), West Side Story (Embassy Theatre)
As Assistant Lighting Designer: For Matt Daw: Secret Cinema presents 28 Days Later, For Hugh Vanstone: The Caretaker, The Master Builder (The Old Vic), For Jon Clark: The Lorax (The Old Vic), Tipping the Velvet (Lyric Hammersmith/Edinburgh Lyceum), For Tim Deiling: American Idiot (Arts Theatre), For Richard Lambert: The Clockmaker’s Daughter, In the Dead of Night (Landor Theatre)
Chris Silvester – Production Manager / Sound Technician
Christopher graduated from at Rose Bruford College with a First Class Hons.
For Ovation: Production Manager for Wallis ‘A Certain Person’ and Legally Blonde the Musical; Technical Manager for the Camden Fringe Festival 2015 & 2016
His other work includes: Technical Stage Manager – From Page to Stage 2016 (Tristan Bates Theatre); Production Manager – Phone Home international Show (Shoreditch Town Hall and international venues); Production Technical Manager – The MGM Story (Upstairs at the Gatehouse and UK Tour); Production Stage Manager – State Vs Hayes (Multi-award: The Argus Angels for Artistic Excellence, GEMINI Print for Best Design); Production Manager – Master of the Macabre (The Vaults, Waterloo); Production Manager – The Late Henry Moss (Southwark Playhouse); Production Manager – Amadis De Gaule (The Bloomsbury Theatre); Company Stage Manager – Batboy The Musical (Southwark Playhouse); Technical Stage Manager – Miracle on 34th Street (UK Tour); Production Stage Manager – Crystal Springs and Chicken Shop (The Park Theatre); Show Supervisor for Opera Holland Park Seasons 2013 – Present.
Les Broughton – Technical Advisor
Les has worked in production for over forty years. He has produced theatre shows as diverse as Shakespeare and Agatha Christie with Ibsen and Brecht in between. He has also lit and rigged many a rock ‘n roll show, variety and cabaret presentation and, for several seasons, The York Mystery Plays. He lit Ovation’s London productions of Not a Game for Boys; Forever Plaid; From a Jack to a King and A Slice of Saturday Night.
More recently he has been concentrating on trade shows and product launches not only in Britain but also in Hong Kong and the Far East.
Katarina Kastening – Assistant Director
Training: MA from Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts
As Director: Our Baby (Bread and Roses Theatre), Things We Should Have Said Today (Blue Elephant Theatre), Blue and Orange Raisins in Thebes (Wolfson Gielgud Studio, RADA), Angels in America (Caryl Churchill Theatre), DNA (Caryl Churchill Theatre).
As Assistant Director: For Keith Warner: Elegy for Young Lovers (Theater an der Wien) 2017.
As Directing Intern/Assistant: For Keith Warner: Hänsel und Gretel (Frankfurt Opera), Wahnfried (Karlsruhe Staatstheater).
Jon Raper – Sound Designer
For Ovation: Wallis ‘A Certain Person’; Legally Blonde the Musical; There’s a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis; Singin’ In The Rain; The Blonde Bombshells of 1943; Avenue Q and Crazy For You
Jon was responsible for the initial installation of the sound system at Upstairs at the Gatehouse almost twenty years ago. He has worked in the professional sound industry for more than thirty years and has installed systems in the Barbican Theatre, Wolverhampton Grand, Durham Gala and the new G Live in Guildford. Jon currently works as a sound and acoustic consultant.
Eleanor Boyce – Voice Coach
Eleanor has been a visiting voice coach for Ovation on Legally Blonde the Musical, The Blonde Bombshells of 1943, Singin’ In The Rain and Kiss Me Kate. She also is a film and dialect coach on a number of feature films, most recently she was Renee Zellweger’s voice coach on Bridget Jones’ Baby (Working Title).
Laurie Briggs – Lighting Operator
Laurie attended Highgate School followed by Camden School for Girls Mixed Sixth Form. He then obtained a BA in History and Film at the University of Sussex. As well as an interest in the technical aspects of theatre, Laurie is also an accomplished guitar and bass player.
Photos by Darren Bell
Michael Arditti, Sunday Express Critic
A spirited rendition of the Cole Porter classic. What the stage lacks in size the production makes up for in style and energy. A talented cast dance up a storm, but this sea crossing is anything but rocky.
Jonathan Baz, jonathanbaz.com
In quite possibly the finest musical to have been staged at The Gatehouse in recent years, John Plews and his cracking company deliver musical theatre magic in their ambitious staging of Cole Porter’s most famous show.
Emily Bestow’s design is imaginative. Ocean-liner themed throughout, including railings around the two traverse banks of seats with the neat touch of cruise-ship views and movies discreetly projected above the compact performance space that only enhances the illusion.
Of course the show is adorned with toe-tapping classic numbers and Plews has cast his company magnificently – with each song done to a turn. Making her UK debut (though with an impressive southern hemisphere CV) Taryn Erickson sizzles as Reno Sweeney. Capturing the essence of Sweeney’s ballsy chanteuse Erickson makes the timeless solos her own. Jack McCann’s Billy Crocker captures the madcap requirements of his character with a perfect voice and presence.
Samantha Dorsey’s Hope Harcourt truly is de-lightful. Her character is one of the few roles that is to be played consistently straight and humour-free. Dorsey brings flawless acting and vocals to capture Hopes complex, lapsed chastity.
Where this production really shines however is in the performing detail that Plews has coaxed from the entire cast. Cole Porter’s wit is acerbic and finely honed, ranging from bawdiness and sarcasm, through to the driest of droll put-downs and his words demand to be spoken or sung with carefully weighted wit. This Highgate company deliver them to perfection, notably Jack Keane’s Sir Evelyn Oakleigh who captures the idiotic buffoonery of an aristocratic English twit (his garters, a fantastic touch) with pinpoint perfection. A good comedy performance is one of the toughest challenges on stage and Keane plays his man to a tee. My only regret in Plews’ show is that he has chosen the 1962 off-Broadway revival which omits Sir Evelyn singing The Gypsy In Me – perhaps one of the funniest songs in the canon. Alongside Keane, David Pendlebury’s Moonface Martin is another comic treat.
Dan Glover’s 6 piece band are polished, while Chris Whittaker’s imaginative and energetic choreography again squeezes breathtaking routines (including some awesome tap) into the venue’s traverse space.
This is unquestionably the best off West End musical around this Christmas – and at around £18 a pop when it comes to value for money, Anything Goes is the best show in town!
Aleesha Handel, Highgate Handbook
Madcap antics aboard an ocean liner bound from New York to London’ is how this production is billed and it most certainly lives up to it.
Set during a 1934 New York east bound transatlantic crossing, ANYTHING GOES is an all singing, all dancing, slightly bizarre take on the classic story of boy meets girl. In this 1962 revision of the script, boy (Billy Crocker – a young Wall Street broker, played by Jack McCann) falls in love at first sight with girl (Hope Harcourt – an American debutant, played by Samantha Dorsey) after a chance encounter in a taxi. But rather than following a predictable plot line this story twists and turns with the help of a second rate gangster with a Tommy gun, disguises worthy of ‘Allo ‘Allo, a somewhat dubious oriental accent and a smidgen of seduction.
We are welcomed into the Gatehouse Theatre and immediately on board the deck of the S.S. American. With the stern at one end, a tiered bow the other and the audience either side, Emily Bestow has produced a deceptively simple but perfect stage for the action to take place. This is further enhanced by a video screen, bow side that displays real life photos of landscapes from the era and rippling ocean footage. Footage that was taken by the director John Plews himself, during his journey back to England from New York on the Queen Mary 2, having negotiated the deal to produce this very play. The cast explode into their initial song with energy and from the first strike up of the six piece band, who were flawless throughout, the audience bopped their heads and had to resist the urge to sing along. A theme that continued throughout the whole production.
Applause must be given to the choreographer Chris Whittaker, who had the cast tapping, twirling and leaping with gusto. At some moments it did seem as though the front row audience were rather too close for comfort, but the precision of movements meant that unlike Billy Crocker’s journey aboard S.S. American everything went smoothly. A brilliantly casted production throughout however a special mention is to be given to Jack Keane playing Sir Evelyn Oakleigh. His portrayal of the classically repressed, often oblivious, upper class English twit was superb. In one particularly memorable scene Mr. Keane performed a morning workout routine and delighted the entire audience with his flair in physical comedy resulting in howls of laughter.
John Plews should be thrilled with what he has achieved here and it is evident that the knowledge gained during his ten years aboard cruise ships entertaining passengers has been put to good use. A well-executed production with plenty of fun and frivolity to get you through the January blues. 5 stars.
Richard Osley, Camden New Journal
AS the song goes: Good authors, too, who once knew better words now only use four-letter words, writing prose… anything goes. So how about good, cool and sexy for this production of Cole Porter’s masterpiece?
Actually, none of those four-letter labels really do the performances here justice, what we really get is, to half-quote another of Porter’s playful lyrics, not only delicious and de-lovely, it’s de-marvellous too.
It’s all lovingly put together by director John Plews, who with his wife Katie runs the theatre. Together they have a reputation for staging Christmas musicals as the perfect antidote to the bore of the festive pantomime season.
That’s not to say the story isn’t implausibly hokey or there isn’t a cartoonish element to the characters; maybe a skit with a Chinese laundry worker slightly stretches things. But there’s never a “he’s behind you” if you buy a ticket here, instead, there’s fun in the one-liners and the quick changes made by the de-fabulous Jack McCann as Billy Crocker, the stowaway on board the transatlantic cruiser SS American raiding the costume cupboard for one disguise after another.
The runaround plot sounds more complicated than it is, but Billy is looking to win the heart of Hope Harcourt up in the posh cabins as her marriage to pompous Lord Evelyn Oakleigh draws as close as the boat does to England. Some of the best scenes, however, involve Evelyn (Jack Keane), as he in turn is seduced by celebrity singer-turned-evangelist, Reno Sweeney.
And it’s Taryn Erickson as Reno who sends you home full up and contented. It’s true all the best songs, the best set pieces, fall her way, but she accepts the invitation to deliver them with a five-star performance, dishing out the title number at the end of the first half, a thunderous rendition of Blow Gabriel Blow, Take Me Back To Manhattan (sadly omitted from other productions) and part of You’re The Top to perfection. Throw in some tap, a fair ration of jazz hands, a shipshape live band and we’re onto a winner.
Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide
Upstairs at the Gatehouse becomes the deck of the SS American for this revival of Cole Porter’s shipboard musical. It’s a farcical fast-paced plot in which disguised stowaway Billy Crocker, aided by his cabaret singer friend Reno and a gangster called Moonface and his Moll Bonnie, pursues his romantic attachment to a young woman who is already engaged to marry English aristo Sir Evelyn Oakleigh when they reach England.
It’s a madcap helter-skelter progress doesn’t stand up to logical scrutiny but it has some great numbers – this boutique version (made for a 1962 Off-Broadway production) also includes some from other Cole Porter shows. It is one of several rewrites for even the first version, which featured a bomb threat, a shipwreck and a desert island, got massively rewritten between its Boston try-out and its Broadway opening when a disastrous fire on a US liner resulted in 137 fatal casualties and made it ill-timed.
John Plews stages it in traverse, the ship’s rails running round the back of the audience, the pirouetting, toe-tapping dancers in touching distance, meticulously placing the high kicks of Chris Whittaker’s choreography to avoid audience injury.
Billy Crocker was only on board to see his boss off when he caught sight of Hope Harcourt, a girl he had briefly met in a taxi and fell for. He stays aboard as a stowaway. You can’t really take a man seriously who cuts a chunk out of the fur coat Hope’s mother is wearing to fashion a beard to disguise himself from her, but Jack McCann gives the Wall Street broker an insouciant charm that outweighs his panicked effrontery as he find ways to be with Hope herself (charming Samantha Dorsey).
Nova Skipp gives hauteur to the mother, Mrs Harcourt, and Jack Kane is a Wodehouse silly-ass Sir Oakley, pedantically noting down transatlantic vernacular until brought to life a changed man by Taryn Erickson’s Reno.
Erikson’s singer lifts the whole show with her numbers and her vitality is matched by the energy of David Pendlebury’s Moonface and Chloe Adele Edwards’ broad (in both senses) Bonnie. Luce Horsfall and Chloe Porter (as Reno’s backing singers) and Timothy Booth and Lewis McBean seem to dance straight out of a 1930s chorus line, pertly provocative and camply swirling.
When you have scarlet clad Erickson delivering “Let’s Misbehave” at full blast, not to mention “You’re the Top,” “I Get a Kick Out of You” and other favourites you can forget the book and just enjoy the performance. It’s Christmas, a time to enjoy the fun and this show is a celebration of strong show tunes with “Blow Gabriel Blow” and its trumpet drawing attention to the great band up above the action.
Richard Unwin, Gay Times
This flawless revival of the classic Cole Porter musical is a perfect antidote to the usual panto dirge dominating the stage at this time of year.
If you’re in the mood for a show over the Christmas period, but can’t face the thought of screaming infants and audience participation, then get yourself over to Highgate for this supremely engaging and impeccably produced smorgasbord of song and dance. Although there’s not a shred of tinsel in sight, there is something inherently festive about a nautical musical – and while it ostensibly deals with relationships of a heterosexual nature, this is a spectacle that is quite definitely as camp as Christmas.
The faintly ridiculous plot involves gangsters and molls and mistaken identities, as a pair of star-crossed lovers become embroiled in shady shenanigans while crossing the Atlantic. But all that’s really just an incidental framework on which to to hang the real meat of this sumptuous showboat – the spectacular song and dance routines. Choreography by Chris Whittaker is endlessly inventive and energetic, executed with distinction by a supremely talented cast as they trip the light fantastic to the toe-tapping tunes of the on-set orchestra.
Jack McCann is captivating as Billy Crocker, the Wall Street broker who finds himself ‘all at sea’, delighting a spellbound audience with boyish charm, and the voice of an angel, as he shuffles, shimmies, and swings his way into our hearts – a true star. Taryn Erickson is perfectly cast as discotheque Delilah Reno Sweeney – vamping things up for all that she’s worth, and Samantha Dorsey impresses with an interpretation of Hope Harcourt that bristles with delectable dignity.
Jack Keane steals pretty much every scene he’s in with an hilarious turn as Sir Evelyn Oakleigh – the epitome of English upper-class twit. Keane demonstrates an instinctive flair for physical comedy – particularly in a side-splitting on-deck exercise routine – that’s sure to take him far. There’s also much humour to be found from double act duo David Pendlebury and Chloe Adele Edwards as the gangster Moonface and Bonnie his Moll – both giving superbly sketched caricatures that enliven the action with skill and savvy.
Packed with instantly recognisable songs such as I Get A Kick Out Of You, It’s De-Lovely, and a particularly rousing rendition of Blow, Gabriel, Blow from Reno, Anything Goes is a joyful jamboree stuffed to bursting with magical moments and nautical nuance. And includes our favourite Cole Porter lyric of all time: ‘But if, baby, I’m the bottom, You’re the top!’ A thoroughly recommended voyage.
GT gives Anything Goes at Upstairs at the Gatehouse — 5/5
Heather Jeffrey, London Pub Theatres
The action takes place on a transatlantic crossing from New York to Southampton in 1934. This charming production is faithful to the period and might have been exactly as Cole Porter would have wanted to see it. A romantic story involving two couples and a couple of gangsters is a wonderful vehicle for the well-known and well-loved songs.
Gatehouse Theatre is one of the largest pub theatres with a wide playing area. This was used to much advantage in creating an excellent set design by Emily Bestow. The audience was on either side of the deck with the bow at one end and the stem at the other. The no expense spared well-built ships bow with spiral steps onto the deck was cleverly brought to life with a video screen showing seascapes, and port holes. Fortunately, not close enough to make anyone feel they were swaying.
No one could doubt the authenticity of the ships design or the presentation of the crew as director John Plews spent 10 years working on cruise ships entertaining the passengers of Cunard, P&O, and Princess. This show is clearly a work of love and this is evident. With six musicians and a cast of 13, it is an extremely ambitious show.
The cast are energetic, and foot perfect. The songs are so well-known that it’s tempting to sing along, so no surprise to see much foot tapping and miming in the audience with happy, happy faces. The highlight, on the night, was Blow Gabriel Blow which was set-up so beautifully and sounded quite angelic. The effective choreography by Chris Whittaker, is satisfyingly complex and technical although with the audience so close, at times seemed a little risky. However, the dancers were outstanding, particularly notable the chorus of Timothy Booth, Lucie Horsfall, Lewis McBean and Chloe Porter, so no problems at all.
Yes, at times some roles and songs could do with more heart, but this is only the third night and so as the show beds in more of the performers real selves will shine through.
A special mention for two members of the cast. Jack Keane as Sir Evelyn Oakleigh and Taryn Erickson as Reno Sweeney. There is an exceptional spark between the two of them coupled with Erickson’s sublime voice (also gorgeous to look at) and Keane’s versatility. Keane’s portrayal of the awkward and repressed upper class twit is hilarious. Yet, he could also punctuate this with moments of romantic epiphany which the audience truly loved!
A delightful cast in a well-presented production.
Danny Coleman-Cooke, BritishTheatre
After the success of last year’s Legally Blonde, the space above the Gatehouse pub is achieving a formidable reputation for Christmas musicals.
This year’s production of 1930s classic Anything Goes looks set to boost that even further. The show is an inspired choice for a bit of festive escapism; the plot is daft and requires considerable suspension of disbelief but the script is excellent, as is Cole Porter’s memorable score.
This show has produced a lot of songs that are famous in their own right (I Get a Kick Out of You, Let’s Misbehave and the titular Anything Goes); and they all sounded fantastic thanks to Dan Glover’s band and orchestrations. Musical theatre purists will also notice that this is the more rarely performed 1962 version, meaning audiences will get to sample some lesser-known Porter tunes.
Book tickets for Anything Goes at Above The Gatehouse
David Pendlebury, Jack Keane and Taryn Erickson. Photo: Darren Bell
The tale is set aboard the ocean liner S. S. American, where famous singer Reno Sweeney is travelling from New York to England. Her pal Billy Crocker has stowed away to try and charm his crush, Hope Harcourt. However, unfortunately for him she is engaged to the wealthy Lord Evelyn Oakleigh.
It is primarily a song and dance show and the stunning choreography of Chris Whittaker is vital in bringing it to life. There was a very high standard of dancing across the board, especially when they had to perform some complex tap routines in a very small space.
It is a superb cast, headed up by strong performances from Taryn Erickson (in her UK debut) as Reno and Samantha Dorsey (one of my favourite Cosettes during her time in Les Mis) as Hope. However, Jack McCann’s Billy didn’t quite do it for me; his voice never fully matched the powerhouse females, although his acting and dancing were both very good.
Book tickets for Anything Goes at Above The Gatehouse
Jack McCann, Taryn Erickson and David Pendlebury in Anything Goes. Photo: Darren Bell
This is an extremely funny show, although some of the ‘disguise’ scenes seem a bit old hat these days. The finest comic performance comes from Jack Keane as the kind and foppish Sir Evelyn. He is a wonderful physical comic (a scene of him simply running around the stage had the audience in stitches) but he also made a likeable character out of what could have been a thinly drawn stereotype.
Similarly, David Pendelbury as Moonface Martin and Chloe Adele Edwards as Bonnie made for an entertaining pair of comedy gangsters, with Edwards making great work of the solo numbers that are often culled from modern revivals of this show.
The small space is used to maximum effect, with a traverse stage supported by a ship deck to provide an additional dimension. Harriet Fowler’s costumes are as fun and jazzy as the music, with some eye-catching period designs adding to the sense of glamour.
This is a show well worth watching, at a venue that is becoming a byword for fun and vibrant festive musicals. Check it out before it goes!
Aline Waites, RemoteGoat
A joyous show written in 1934 by Wodehouse and Bolton is a perfect choice for the Gatehouse Christmas Show. Set on board a ship bound for Europe with the inevitable Castaway played by Jack McCann in a vast array of hilarious disguises.
I have to admit that the energy and commitment of the cast – although admirable is a little frenetic and tends to leave one a little breathless, nevertheless the Wodehouse/Bolton script is full of wit, style and crazy gags and of course the wonderful songs by the great Cole Porter make this a show one has to run to see.
The professionalism of John Plews casting is immaculate. They include a fair representation of the late Ethel Merman – who played the part of the evangelist Reno Sweeney in the original all those years ago. This production includes Taryn Erikson whose voice could destroy an entire china cabinet at a hundred paces.
The rest of the cast are equally talented. = especially Jack Keane who plays an idiotic upper class Englishman in typical Bertie Wooster style. There is also a sub plot about Public Enemy Number one – a gang of gangsters led by Moonface Martin and his blond Moll Bonnie..
The other enormous pleasure is the enormous amount of tap dancing performed by the entire company. Plus probably the best orchestra ever heard on the Gatehouse bandstand.
A rapid frenetic show with some good gags, lots of tap dancing and Cole Porter’s divine songs.
Should be seen – A superb holiday show for Christmas.
Richard Lambert, Theatre Reviews, Lambco
What an amazing show! So much better than Trevor Nunn’s National Theatre version in 2002! But then, many Fringe shows these days so easily beat the West End shows in terms of entertainment even when the budgets are minimal! Phenomenal 5 Star Cast every one of them! Great acting, singing and dancing, all in character! The full house of well turned-out audience (surprising nowadays when you almost expect the audience to arrive with a takeaway to eat throughout the show!) absolutely loved it and were beaming ear to ear the entire show! OVATION has done an incredible job to bring this wonderful show to entertain us this Christmas! You can’t beat Cole Porter’s music, it helps that we all know these catchy songs, and who doesn’t like a bit of tap dancing? Choreography (Chris Whittaker) and the delivery of the dancing just fabulous! All in unison with the best acting through dance you’ll see anywhere!!! Well rehearsed and all together, the Cast deliver every double shuffle-up hop and triple time-step precisely! Don’t sit in the front row if you scare easily – there will be high kicks past your ears and girls’ legs grazing your whiskers! The Set is really good. With the audience sat in traverse on one end, there’s the Ship’s Bow up some steep stairs to a raised acting area platform, and to the other, the Ship’s Stern raised deck houses the 6 strong orchestra! Yes, a Cast of 15 and an Orchestra of 6!!! Having a Live Orchestra is so lovely! The costumes look period and fit well surviving the energetic dynamic dancing routines. Various props and set pieces enhance the story – there’s not a dull moment anywhere! The lighting (Sam Waddington) is very sympathetic to the piece. It conveys location and time of day whilst maintaining the delicate balance between visibility and atmosphere. Expertly achieved without any moving lights at all – some of the fixtures are older than some of the Cast (oh yes, 123s and 243s are in the rig) with only a couple of scrollers. Speaking of the Cast, all are very strong in their characters, but a special mention has to be given to Lewis McBean and Chloe Porter who have exceptional Musical Theatre performance skills! Jack Keane also brilliantly funny as Sir Evelyn Oakleigh! So, why is this not a 5 Star Review? Well, there is so much to love in this production. And as I’m publishing this, news is breaking of 4 x Offie Industry Award nominations which doesn’t surprise me. There may very well be more before this production ends its run! Jack McCann – Best Male Performance Taryn Erickson – Best Female Performance Chris Whittaker – Best Choreographer Anything Goes – Best Musical Production But this website focusses on the Technical and the Design, and there are 2 areas of the show that are not quite 5 Star. The Sound and the Video fall short. The Sound Image is just plain wrong. Perhaps because I was sat in front of a speaker from the rig at the other end of the room away from the Live Orchestra. It just feels wrong to have the Piano coming into my Right Ear from the Loudspeaker when the piano is actually over on my farthest left. Could the Piano speaker not be placed in the Orchestra area? That’s where you hear the other instruments playing. Similarly when the Cast are far left but you hear them from your Right the Sound Image is quite distracting. I looked around several times to find out where the actor was as it wasn’t where I expected. And the Video. Oh dear! There are 3 Components to Video – the System, the content that you see, and the show integration. Unfortunately the Video misses on all counts. The screen has been rigged high in the rig over and above the front of the ship. The projector is rigged in a manner that permanently throws a shadow on the bottom centre of the large screen. And the screen is not flat, it has ruffles. The content is of the sea but it’s positioned where the sky should be. Since we’re watching real video footage of a real Sea that would make the Ship a Submarine. And the content is a loop of the ocean which is distracting when it cross-fades to restart the loop. Later the video is used to display a message that says “Intermission” along with the Ship’s co-ordinates so it’s no longer the front view from the ship’s deck, except the ocean, now a static image is still there. Then at another point it shows that we’re docked in Southampton, until a song comes on about Manhattan and suddenly we have the New York skyline, only at the end of the song to be replaced by the dock in Southampton but now the ship has inexplicably moved its mooring. It just doesn’t make sense and is quite distracting as you’re left pondering what it’s all about instead of focussing on the show. In my opinion, the show would have been better without any of this video. Despite these technical flaws the show is totally amazing and I thoroughly recommend anyone to go see it. You’ll leave on a high!
Claire Roderick, Fairy Powered Productions
Cole Porter’s great musical comes to Highgate for the Christmas season. A sunny transatlantic crossing may not seem like obvious festive material, but this is sheer joyous escapism at its best.
The plot is nonsensical, full of cheesy lines, idiotic coincidences and lunatic about faces – but logic is thrown overboard in the face of such fantastic entertainment, and the laughs come thick and fast. Director John Plews has used the 1962 Broadway revival script, and the traverse staging, with the audience seeming to be watching from a perch on the ship’s rails lends a sense of complicity to the farcical events onstage.
Billy Crocker stows away on the SS American when he discovers that the love of his life is also on board, sailing to England with her fiancé to get married. With the help of nightclub singer Reno Sweeney, Public Enemy no. 13, Moonface Martin – masquerading as a priest – and his moll Bonnie, Billy dons various disguises to continue wooing his love.
Jack McCann’s Billy begins a little smugly, but as his romance with Hope (a very sweet Samantha Dorsey) develops, the charm shines through. Taryn Erickson storms the stage as Reno, with a voice and dance skills that mark her out for a great future. Jack Keane is hysterical as Sir Evelyn – a true Wodehouse fop – making you giggle with anticipation of more buffoonery just by coming on stage. David Pendlebury and Chloe Adele Edwards are true caricatures as Moonface and Bonnie – chewing the scenery and providing lots of laughs.
The show is all about the music – from the moment the fantastic band (perched at the stern of the ship, so sometimes drowning out the male singers’ middle register for audience members nearby) struck up Porter’s overture, every foot in the room was tapping. With numbers like I Get A Kick Out Of You, Anything Goes, You’re The Top, It’s De-Lovely, Blow Gabriel Blow, Friendship and so many more, all sung with skill and gusto, this production really delivers. Chris Whittaker’s choreography is witty and energetic, making the most of the traverse staging, although I would get a little nervous in the front row with some of the high kicking.
This is one of those productions that you want to go back and see again – gorgeous, frivolous and stylish entertainment that never dates performed with panache. The perfect night out for anyone going through Strictly withdrawal.
Sam Marlowe, The Times
There’s a gloss of luxe to this boutique staging of the shipboard Cole Porter classic. This is a show with plenty of sparkle.