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REVIEW: Sainsbury Singers present Anything Goes

Sainsbury Singers present Anything Goes,
The Hexagon
May 15-19

The audience at the Hexagon last week were treated to a voyage back to the 1930’s courtesy of the Sainsbury Singers as they presented the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes.

Set on board the SS American on its voyage to England, we follow a diverse group of passengers including a stowaway, an evangelist turned night-club singer, an English gentleman and a gangster through an eventful five days of disguises, mistaken identities, misunderstandings and romance.

The principal actors of Billy, Hope, Bonnie and Reno had all developed perfect voices for both their characters and the musical era – Billy (Stephen Cox) produced a lovely warm tone, Hope (Helen Thomas) had a beautifully pure soprano voice while Bonnie (Louise Quelch) gave a thoroughly convincing portrayal of a gangster’s moll, complete with broad New Jersey accent and superbly strident vocals.

Reno (Lorraine Cox) was given the most well-known songs in the show, including Anything Goes, I Get A Kick Out Of You and Blow, Gabriel, Blow and handled each with aplomb, ably reflecting the various moods of each number.

One of the roles with the most scope for humour was that of Moonface, played by Steve Jewell.

Fairly new to the society and with a loud and supportive group of fans in the audience, he gave a very confident portrayal of a gangster, disguised as a clergyman, attempting to remain hidden yet giving himself away at every turn.

He made the most of every comedy moment and his song ‘Be like the blackbird’ received rapturous applause.

The ever-talented Brian Bretney rose to the challenge of playing Englishman Sir Evelyn Oakleigh. His posh English accent together with his endearing naivety made him an instantly likeable character.

The dance routines had been thoughtfully put together by choreographer Denise Schult and contained all the classic moves that would be expected from the 1930’s, together with an extraordinary whole-company tap number to end Act 1 that left the audience enthralled and wondering how many of the cast had taken tap dancing lessons especially for the show.

Accompanied by just a seven-piece orchestra, the wind and brass instruments further enhanced the 1930’s atmosphere.

Another successful production by Reading’s oldest musical society, still going strong since 1938!

Their next production is Little Shop of Horrors which takes place at Leighton Park Theatre from 24-27th October.

JUDITH CREIGHTON

Phil Creighton

Publisher of The Wokingham Paper

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