Anything Goes

Settle Amateur Operatic Society

Victoria Hall, Settle

ORIGINALLY written in 1934 and set aboard a cruise liner, Anything Goes has undergone more updates, reviews and refitting than the average sea-going vessel.

Its current version emerges as a high energy, bouncy feel-good show peppered with catchy, familiar Cole Porter numbers and far-fetched disguises, coincidences and complete nonsense.

Its construction is dated in places and the plot creaks like a sail in the wind, but it is still a joyously seaworthy vessel and is currently in the hands of a very able crew of cast, chorus and directorial team.

The energy of the cast alone would power the turbines of most cruisers and with the steady hand of producer Pat Harding and musical director Pam Whitehead at the helm the society has clearly got a course set for success.

There were a few first night hiccups with a couple of scenes and changeovers being less than slick so that the first act was overly long, but I have no doubt that this will soon be ship shape as confidence grows.

The clever staging, incorporating the band on stage and extending the performance area into the auditorium, meant that there was sufficient space for some great choreography and congratulations especially to the youthful dancers - particularly those who came to rehearsals as novices.

Their hard work bore fruit last night and this really lifted the evening. The band too were very much at ease, performing wonderfully and clearly happy at being integrated into the action - with some good comic touches.

Timing is everything in comedy and the show was blessed with two natural comedians in the roles of Reno Sweeney (Beth Lowe) and Moonface Martin (Steven Lawson).

With some of the best numbers by far to sing, Beth Lowe had tremendous stage presence and shows huge potential as a character actress and comic lead.

Steven Lawson's solo, "Be Like the Blue Bird", was a highlight of the second act and his "Friendship" duet with Reno would be hard to better.

The various love interests were slightly hesitant at times but again, all performed with great enthusiasm and sang well - Jake Tatham particularly showing promise as the hapless Lord Oakleigh.

There were also excellent cameos from "the old hands" of Eric Parker, Graham Jarvis and Ray Jones and only the incomparable Audrey Daley could have managed to steal a scene while saying nothing and sitting in a wheelchair!

In all, it was an entertaining and lively voyage and proof once more that SAOS is in fine form and as fit for action as any racing yacht.

Gill O'Donnell