Review: Guys & Dolls

Guys and Dolls is a classic stage musical, first playing on Broadway back in 1950, although it’s probably the film adaptation (1955), starring Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando, that brought the piece to most people’s attention.

Throughout the years Guys and Dolls has continued to play around the world and attract audiences new and old.

The story is based in the grittier side of 50s New York, filled with small time hustlers and gamblers. Nathan Detroit (Jordan James) is trying to organise an illegal crap game but having difficulty as he’s being pursued by the local cop as well as not having the $1000 needed to pay for a venue.

Nathan realises that another gambler, Sky Masterson (Sam Brown), will bet on literally anything and so Nathan hatches a plan that will win him his $1000 in a sure fire winning bet which involves Sky managing to seduce Sarah Brown (Connie Lamb), the goody goody Salvation Army Sergeant.

Standing in the way of Nathan’s gambling is his night-club singing and dizzy girlfriend Miss Adelaide (Nancy Doubledee).

Eastern Edge Theatre Company are Suffolk’s only youth-led theatre company…. all the players are aged between 15 and 23 and have been assembled by Artistic Director Charlie Pittman. The Company were only formed in 2016 but already they are proving that they are not just another am-dram musical group. This is the company’s first big musical production and they don’t get much bigger.

The casting is perfect and all turn in 5-star performances. The two leading ladies, Connie Lamb and Nancy Doubledee are outstanding vocally, with Nancy excelling in her role of Miss Adelaide which combines a mixture of comedy and pathos proving her ability not just as a singer but also a talented comedic actress too.

But it’s not only the Dolls that steal the show as the Guys do pretty well too, with Jordan James and Sam Brown stepping into the shoes made famous by Sinatra and Brandon and it’s a comfortable fit!

Guys and Dolls includes lots of musical numbers, solo and duets but what also stood out in this production were the group numbers, and the cast proving themselves for dance as well. Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat is always a highlight part of the show but the choreography on this occasion took it to new heights…. superb!

The only criticism of the production, and it has to be said, is that of sound. On the opening night while the performers gave 5-star polished performances they were sadly let down by a seriously under-polished sound crew, although I’m sure this will be resolved for the rest of the run. That said the entire audience were truly entertained.

This group maybe new but they are a company that need to be taken with seriousness.

I guarantee you will be singing the songs for days. Great performers, great production and truly top-notch entertainment. Other local musical am-drams need to watch out as these guys and girls are a force to be reckoned with. I cannot wait to see their next production.

Plays at the Spa Pavilion Felixstowe, Thursday 26th January 2017 – 7.30pm, Friday 27th Jan – 7.30pm, Saturday 28th Jan – 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Book online:

Mark Keable, Ipswich24 Magazine