Guys and Dolls Auckland Theatre Company Review

Auckland Theatre Company is back with their annual musical and this year it is a classic.

The Audi season of Guys and Dolls kicked off it’s run at Q Theatre last night. The old time Broadway feel may have you twakin in a Nu Yok accent in no time.

Nathan Detroit needs to find a home for his permanent floating crap game (that’s the dice throwing one). But venues want cash so he bets professional high-roller Sky Masterson that he can’t date the cute doll, Sarah Brown. This sparks an unlikely but real romance between Sky and Sarah. Meanwhile, Nathan is dodging going down the aisle by giving the run around to his long-suffering fiancée of fourteen years, Miss Adelaide. Love’s a gamble and these guys like a bet, but are the odds on their side?

Q’s Rangatira stage hosts a smaller revolving stage with a big red glittery ‘Guys and Dolls’ separating the sphere allowing for swift scene changes. The live orchestra sits above fantastically taking us through this recognisable and upbeat score.

The guys are suave, funny and mischievous and the dolls are glamorous, strong minded and outspoken which makes for some feisty dialogue and fun exchanges. However, the first half does suffer from some ups and downs but the pace is picked up and stumbles remedied with a second half bursting with energy and musical hits.

Vocally the cast were strong and the harmonies were lovely to listen to, however, they may have outsung their dance moves as although the choreography worked well there wasn’t an even spread of dancing talent.

Shane Cortese is our wise guy Nathan Detroit and he’s a cheeky character who’s a good guy at heart. Cortese has fun on stage and works well with Sophia Hawthorne playing Sister Sarah Brown. He busts out the comedy and romance making him charming enough to pull off a crowd pleading ‘Sue Me’. Hawthorne was wonderfully versatile and likeable and I especially enjoyed her duet with Rachel O’Connell in ‘Marry the Man Today’.

Roy Snow as Sky Masterson and Rachel O’Connell as Sarah Brown perform a heartwarming and hugely enjoyable duet in ‘I’ve never been in love before’ and O’Connell nails those high notes leaving us all loved up for act two. Snow also get’s to lead the classic ‘Luck Be a Lady’ with the boys and as a chorus they sound grand.

Stephen Lovatt pops up as the cabaret club MC and as the determined Lieutenant Branning, who’s trying to catch Detroit in the act but never quite does, and as always he is great.

Nathan’s motley crew includes Nicely-Nicely Johnson played brilliantly by Andrew Grainger. He gives a humorous fun performance that’s made all the more memorable by his rendition of ‘Sit Down You’re Rocking The Boat’.

Guys and Dolls didn’t hit the sweet spot until the second half but the feel good story and catchy recognisable tunes entertain and it ends with a lot more broadway in its heart that it started with.

The Audi season of Guys and Dolls is on at Q Theatre until 5 December.

Photo credit: Michael Smith