Guys and Dolls is like a favourite pair of old slippers. Familiar, comfortable and just plain lovely.
Stage One’s production does nothing to lessen that feeling. Every song’s a winner in this show and here they’re mostly well sung. There’s a good deal of maturity in the singing-voices – surprising and pleasing when you read in the programme that there are no over-19s in the cast.
As Sarah Brown, Natasha Brown gives a warm, believable and beautifully detailed performance, her strong, beautiful soprano coming easily and soaring to the rafters. She’s ably partnered by the equally well-voiced Sam Ring as Sky Masterson. He is, perhaps, a little too measured in his dialogue – more energy and attack is required - but is never less than personable.
As the adenoidal Miss Adelaide, Megan Healy does well in the musical numbers and her partner, Nathan Detroit, is played by Jamie Riley with enviable comic awareness.
But, towering over all four leads is James Lawbuary as Arvide Abernathy. Clearly a born character-actor he has an ear for dialogue and imbues each line with intelligence, sense and spontanaiety. Some other cast-members seemed simply to be repeating lines learned by rote – but that comes with age and experience.
And charismatically standing out from the slick ensemble is Aaron Whatling, who acts, sings and dances his little socks off. Watch for him in the future.
Despite a pedestrian and uninspired start from the orchestra this show deserves to be wallowed in.