5-9 July 2016
Reviewed by Lee-Anne McCarthy
Having grown up in a Salvation Army household, a similar organisation to the Save the Soul Mission, Guys and Dolls was a musical I was introduced to as a toddler. It soon became a favourite and has remained such even now. So knowing I was going to review the show at Cardiff’s New Theatre left me feeling excited.
Guys and Dolls is set in New York City, the very real sin city. Underground gambling is rife thanks to the slippery characters like Nathan Detroit (played by Maxwell Caulfield). When I saw he was cast I found myself having to re-watch Grease 2. As a child of the 80’s it was exciting to know he was a part of my favourite musical. But unlike the heartthrob of Grease, Caulfield played a very different Nathan Detroit. Having watched Guys and Dolls the movie on … hundreds of the occasions I always envisage a Frank Sinatra Nathan Detroit, slick even as a hustler. Caulfield wasn’t that he was better. He wasn’t clean cut, he was the cad, the chancer, the real hustler I’m sure he should have always been. I didn’t swoon over my teen crush but I believed wholeheartedly that Nathan chanced his way through life and made the best of everything. Caulfield was support by Louise Dearfield, who played Nathan’s ever suffering fiancée of 14 years Adelaide. She was amazing. Louise Dearfield played a Adelaide who was witty, fun but deep thinking. You’d be forgiven to think that Adelaide was a brainless bimbo who spent all her time taking her clothes off in the hot box. Dearfield was able to show there was much more to Adelaide. I found myself believing that although she’d always be the dreamer and maybe a bit of a walk over for love she was determined, resolute and incredibly strong. The numbers performed by Dearfield especially the famous ‘take back your mink’ were sensational.
Guys and Dolls also sees the biggest sinner Sky Masterson stumble into the Save the Soul Mission and ultimately the heart of Sister Sarah Brown. Sky Masterson was played by Richard Fleeshman. The last time I saw him he was on my telly screen in Coronation Street. What I saw tonight was something else. I knew he could sing, but boy could he sing. Not only that but he oozed the charisma, even arrogance, of Sky Masterson the bad boy who eventually finds his heart in the love of a quite unexpected other. His confused, religiously torn love interest was played Anne O’Bryne. She played the initially stuffy Sarah Brown well. You could feel her genuine torment at loving the bad guy.
The entire cast were supported by a fantastic ensemble who brought life in New York City to life. The fantastic dance routines and chorography especially of numbers like ‘Luck be a lady’ were breath taking. It was clear every single individual was a part of a great team of performers. The musical accompaniments were spectacular and much to my daughters dismay they had me singing along to almost every number throughout the performance.
This is my favourite musical ever. There was a bar to reach and this group of performers smashed it. I had a fantastic evening of toe tapping singing along fun. I’d go again tomorrow.
Tickets cost from £12 to £42.50 (booking fees may apply).
Guys and Dolls is at the New Theatre in Cardiff until 9 July 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 029 2087 8889.
New Theatre, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3LN | 029 2087 8889