A VOYAGE of romance and laughter is on offer to musicals fans next month as Sutton’s Green Hut Theatre Company presents Anything Goes.

The group will invite their audiences aboard the SS American for a journey of bogus identities, high-seas hijinks and light-hearted love triangles.

The show evokes the freewheeling atmosphere of the 1920s as various passengers – some of them stowaways – get involved in the fast-moving tale.

Keeping the fun bubbling are a host of famous songs from Cole Porter such as I Get a Kick Out Of You, You’re the Top, Friendship and It’s De-Lovely.

The story begins in New York where young stock-market worker Billy Crocker has fallen in love with heiress Hope Harcourt when they spent a blissful evening together in the city.

The problem is that Hope is engaged to be married to English aristocrat Lord Evelyn Oakleigh – and the pair are about to head to their wedding in England aboard the SS American.

Also due to sail is Crocker’s overbearing boss Elisha Whitney, and when he calls Billy aboard to take a message that gives our hero an opportunity to stow away.

But the course of true love isn’t going to travel as straight as the ocean liner: Billy’s old girlfriend Reno Sweeney is also on the passenger list.

Reno, a nightclub singer travelling with her four backing singers Purity, Chastity, Charity and Virtue, ends up falling in love with Lord Evelyn.

And Elisha is carrying a torch for Hope’s mother Evangeline Harcourt.

Adding to the fun is Moonface Martin – a minor gangster – who is posing as a church minister to avoid arrest with his accomplice Erma.

And that’s not forgetting a pair of young Chinese gamblers.

Green Hut regulars are welcoming aboard a couple of newcomers, Josh Breeze and Richard Smith, to join them in playing principal roles in the show – Billy and Lord Evelyn respectively.

They will perform opposite regulars Emma Jayne Waters and Roxanne Williams as Hope and Reno, with other regulars Philip Smith, Charlotte Harrison, Alison Waters, David Knights, Bryan Blackie and John Cahill in other roles.

Josh Breeze has performed in several pantos and musicals with Keighley Musical Theatre Company in recent years, including Hairspray and Robin Hood, and earlier this year he made his debut as Dame for the group in Jack and the Beanstalk.

In 2017 Josh was in Alan Ayckbourn comedy Sisterly Feelings at Bingley Little Theatre.

Anything Goes began life in 1934 as a musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter and has gone through several major changes of story, script and songs in the subsequent decades.

Since its 1934 debut at the Alvin Theatre, on Broadway, the musical has been revived several times on both sides of the Atlantic and has been filmed twice.

Green Hut’s version is a late 20th century revival that proved hugely popular in the West End.

The original idea for a musical set on board an ocean liner came from producer Vinton Freedley, who was living on a boat after leaving the US to avoid his creditors.

He selected the writing team, Guy Bolton and Jeeves and Wooster creator PG Wodehouse, and the star, Ethel Merman.

The first draft of the show was called Crazy Week, which became Hard to Get, and finally Anything Goes.

The original plot involved a bomb threat, a shipwreck, and human trafficking on a desert island, but just a few weeks before the show was due to open, a fire on board the passenger ship SS Morro Castle caused the deaths of 138 passengers and crew members.

The script was hurriedly changed, either because a show on a similar subject to the real-life disaster would have been tasteless, or because as one theatre historian said it was a “hopeless mess”.

Show director Howard Lindsay and press agent Russel Crouse collaborated on a replacement script, beginning their lifelong writing partnership, with the roles of Billy Crocker and Moonface Martin designed for the then well-known comedy team William Gaxton and Victor Moore.

Sutton Green Hut Theatre Company last year celebrated its 90th birthday, performing anniversary productions Oliver!, Jack and the Beanstalk and Vicar of Dibley 2 in the same venue as debut production Pocahontas.

The group began life in 1928 as St Thomas’s Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, later becoming Sutton Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, and it now presents a musical, pantomime and play every year.

This year’s play will be a stage adaptation of the popular BBC sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, in September, and the December pantomime will be Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Keeping Up Appearances is a British sitcom created and written by Roy Clarke, who also wrote the long-running comedy series Last of the Summer Wine.

Keeping Up Appearances, which ran from 1990 to 1995, focused on the eccentric and snobbish lower-middle-class social climber Hyacinth Bucket.

The character, played by Patricia Routledge, insisted that her surname was pronounced “Bouquet”.

The sitcom followed Hyacinth in her attempts to prove her social superiority, and to gain standing with those she considered upper class.

Her attempts were constantly hampered by her lower-class extended family despite attempts to hide them.

Keeping Up Appearances went on to last five series and 44 episodes, including four Christmas specials.

* Anything Goes will be performed at Sutton Village Hall on April 10-13 at 7.15pm. Call 01535 632289 to book tickets.