I love Cole Porter and I really wanted to love the current touring production of ‘Anything Goes’, playing until 7th February at the New Wimbledon Theatre.
First performed on Broadway in 1934, the show focuses on the love story between Hope Harcourt (Zoë Rainey) and Billy Crocker (Matt Rawle) and his efforts to subvert her engagement to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (the fantastic Stephen Matthews, who really excels here). Set mainly upon cruise ship ‘SS America’, the show is packed with standard after standard: from ‘I Get a Kick Out of You’ to ‘Blow, Gabriel, Blow’.
However, various aspects of the show simply fail to hit the mark: the casting of certain characters is questionable, some of the American accents are lamentable and the big chorus numbers fail to scale the heights one hopes for, perhaps because of the cramped forestage space owing to Richard Kent’s design.
Unquestionably excellent, though, is Debbie Kurup who steals the show as Reno Sweeney: tapping, belting and sassing her way through the big numbers.
‘Anything Goes’ sails along at a good pace and has its enjoyable moments, with the musical numbers coming thick and fast. The book is fun, the chorus energetic and and their are multiple weddings at the end: everything you can want from an old time musical. I just wish it soared rather than sailed.
Reviewed by Jody Tranter
Anything Goes is on tour around the UK. Click here for dates and tickets.