Review: Guys and Dolls at Chichester Festival Theatre

Sarah Earnshaw as Betty and Joe Pasquale as Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do 'Av 'Em. Picture by Scott Rylander

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One of the tired old stalwarts of local amateurs gets a professional outing at Chichester this year... and what an outing.

The lights dip as the orchestra starts the overture and you’re off. The next three hours pass in an instant.

You’re in good hands – both the performers and the creatives – and Guys and Dolls, itself, is ablaze.

There is no single weak link in this cast; no single moment is second-rate; no single idea isn’t creative and clever and witty.

The four leads – Peter Polycarpou as Nathan Detroit, Jamie Parker as Sky Masterson, Clare Foster as Sarah Brown and – oh, so especially – the vitally clever Sophie Thompson as Miss Adelaide are sublime and supported by a vivacious, swirling, whirling, belt-singing ensemble who quick-change their way through innumerable costumes in nanoseconds.

And among the other named parts there’s joy, too. A finer Nicely-Nicely Johnson than that given by Harry Morrison you’re unlikely to find; Neil McCaul works wonders with the usually forgettable Arvide, his growled threat to Sky being particularly joyous; Melanie La Barrie’s dog-whistle of a soprano is breathtaking and Nic Greenshields looms terrifyingly and effectively as Big Jule.

Do yourselves a big, big favour. See it. Until September 21.