On paper ‘Guys & Dolls’ isn’t a musical you’d expect a cast of school children to perform but Longridge Towers re-wrote the rule book last week.
The streets of New York could have been a step too far for the young cast who hit The Maltings stage just weeks after the school’s junior department wowed with ‘Joseph & his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’.
But highly talented in their own right, the ‘Guys & Dolls’ cast definitely maintained the school’s stellar start to 2014.
The plot focussed on two unconventional couples - typical Jack the lad Sky Masterson and unassuming missionary Sarah Brown; and chancer Nathan Detroit and the highly strung Miss Adelaide.
Two very different couples comprising four very different characters but the young actors tasked with adopting their personas certainly rose to the challenge.
He was the playful lead in ‘The Adventures of Mr Toad’ last year but Sky gave Joel Raine a very different theatrical task.
And with great stage presence with added swagger Joel was impressive once again as was the Ratty to last year’s Toad, Georgina Faed.
It would have been easy for her to have played Sarah in a straight down the line ‘goody two shoes’ fashion but growing as a performer with every show she’s involved in, Georgina brought depth and real character to the role.
And who could fail to notice her fine singing voice? Her vocal range was pushed hard by a musical score which demanded some hard-to-reach notes but Georgina travelled the octaves with ease.
She and Joel had great chemistry, making their touching duets ‘I’ll Know’ and ‘I’ve Never Been In Love Before’ all the more believable.
Georgina showed she can do comedy just as well as romance with solo number ‘If I Were A Bell’ tickling the audience’s funny bone.
For me, one of the brightest stars of this accomplished production was Martine Vrieling van Tuijl.
Miss Adelaide was a part that gave Martine the launch pad to spread her theatrical wings.
Her comic timing was impeccable, particularly in ‘Miss Adelaide’s Lament’, and she was word and pitch perfect - you’d be easily forgiven for thinking you were watching someone in a West End production.
Martine was at her best sharing her scenes with Dan Flannigan who played Nathan.
Like Martine, Dan put in a performance beyond his young years really getting to grips with the different sides of Nathan’s character.
Yelota Ali and Billie Pflug made a dynamic duo as Nicely-Nicely Johnson and Benny Southstreet. They really bounced off each other and ‘Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat’ gave Yalita the chance to showcase her impressive vocals.
Fellow gamblers Colette Kaines Laing, Emily Gettins, Ellie Sergeant and James Williams were sure fire winners as were James Bennett, Rachel Entwistle, Emily Fisher and Siobhan Bankier as the more clean living members of the Mission and Lucinda Lawrie as Lieutenant Brannigan.
The show’s length and wealth of dialogue and musical numbers could have easily claimed some casualties but showing great commitment to the cause, the young cast were professional from start to finish. Hats off to them and their directors Nolan Dalrymple and Isobel Cheer Peters for an ambitious production.
Sarah Brown - Georgina Faed
Arvide - James Bennett
Agatha - Rachel Entwistle
Calvin - Emily Fisher
Martha - Siobhan Bankier
General Cartwright - Emma Dalrymple
Nathan Detroit - Dan
Sky Masterson - Joel Raine
Nicely-Nicely - Yelita Ali
Benny Southstreet - Billie Pflug
Rusty Charlie - Ellie Sargeant
Harry the Horse - Colette Kaines-Lang
Angie the Ox - Emily Gettins
Big Julie - James Williams
Crap Shooters - Struan Hutchison, Ben Grindell, Charlie Renner
Miss Adelaide - Martine Vrieling van Tuijl
Mimi - Yamikani Ali
Lt Brannigan - Lucinda
Joey Biltmore - Eilidh
Master of Ceremonies - Polly Penetcost
Dancers - Martha Raine, Faye Weddle, Emma McNeill, Rihannon Templeton, Alice Renner, Sarah Renner, Kirstyn Duff, Jasmine Gibson. Ensemble - Elizabeth Rhodes, Eilidh Johnson, Isobel Miller, Alyx Drysdale, Lucy Turner, Ellie Nielsen, Eva Simpson, Miranda Rumph, Saffron Morrow, Daisy Steed, Paris Cunningham, Daisy Armstrong