Guys and Dolls tells the tale of a group New York City small time gamblers. It follows two love stories- one of Miss Adelaide and Nathan Detroit who have been engaged for 14 years but Detroit's gambling ways means they can't settle down, start a family and get married which is all Adelaide yearns for.
Sky Masterson is a gambler who will on bet on most things. Detroit challenges him to take a 'doll' of his choosing to Havana, Cuba- if he doesn't, he gets $1,000. He decides on the squeaky clean Sarah Brown who is volunteering at the mission, which is about to be shut down. Masterson approaches Sarah and convinces her that he wants to rid himself of sin. He offers her a deal- if she goes with his to Havana he will bring 12 sinners to the mission for the next prayer meeting to prevent it from its imminent closure. She accepts and becomes just as infatuated by him as he is by the 'crap game'.
The stage catches your attention from the start, an artistic impression of Times Square- encapsulating all the bright lights and garish advertisements that line the streets.
The four key players, Richard Fleeshman, Maxwell Crawford, Louise Dearman and Anna O'Byrne were perfectly cast in their roles. All of whom were enthusiastic and sang beautifully on the night.
Richard Fleeshman was convincing in his role of the man who is adamant he will never change his ways until he falls in love with an unlikely match. Anna O'Bryne was ideal as the prissy and conservative woman who has yet to see the world. Despite their differences their chemistry is present from the beginning of the production.
I felt like Maxwell Crawford and Louise Dearman had been an item for years. Her eagerness to pin him down and make a life together was all too real. For anyone who's with partner who drags their feet, I'm certain the excuses and delays were all too familiar.
The New York accent can be very hard to pull off and I have heard to done really badly in the past but all of the actors did it with confidence and sass.
There was a greater feeling of energy and a few more upbeat musical numbers in the second half once the characters and their predicaments were established in the first act. As I have never seen the film before, this was totally new to me so the only song I recognised was 'Luck be a Lady'. Although the other numbers were unfamiliar to me, I thought the lyrics were a stroke of genius, especially in 'If I Were a Bell' and 'Adelaide's Lament'.
My mother in law recognised Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat as this was from the original movie. I have to admit seeing the stage production has not inspired me to pick up a copy of the film and I am satisfied to have ticked this one off my list.
I am sure that the costumes, songs and characters will capture the hearts of fans of the era and admirers of the movie. It clearly has a loyal following as it has stood the test of time since it's opening night back in 1950 and has many awards to it's name including the Tony Award for Best Musical.
A classic story of bad turned good, unlikely unions and fear of commitment- Guys and Dolls has many universal themes people can relate to.
I don't know if it was too before my time, but I couldn't really connect with this show. I felt the storyline was linear and predictable, however I think the cast and crew did the absolute best with what they had to work with.