REVIEW: GUYS AND DOLLS (Theatre Marigny, Paris) ★★★★★

The 1950, Tony Award winning Musical, GUYS AND DOLLS, is making is French premiere in Paris right now with a stunning West End cast including Ria Jones (Evita, Chess, Cats, Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Sunset Boulavard, Les Miserables), Clare Halse (42nd Street, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Singin’ In The Rain, Gypsy, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Shrek The Musical), Christopher Howell (42nd Street, Side Show, Made In Dagenham, Stephen Ward, Wicked, Betty Blue Eyes) and Matthew Goodgame (Cats, Grease, 42nd Street, Funny Girl). Known for it’s classic musical theatre songs ‘A Bushel and a Peck’, ‘Take Back Your Mink’, ‘Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat’ and of course ‘Luck Be A Lady’, GUYS AND DOLLS might be an oldie but its a timeless goodie!

Running an illegal game of Craps is no easy task and no one knows this better than Nicely Nicely Johnson and his boss Nathan Detroit who are looking for a new venue to hold the game in, where the police won’t find them. Their only option is a local garage but the owner wants a $1,000 deposit which the boys don’t have. Nicely decides to make an obscure bet with Sky Masterson, a man who never says no to a bizarre gamble. He bets that Sky can’t woo and take local missionary woman, Sarah Brown to Havana for the evening. Sky promises Sarah a dozen sinners to bring to the missionary to allow her to try to save their souls (and this could also save the establishment from closing down), so she agrees. But can Sky stop himself from falling for the doll and win his bet. Or will he take a gamble instead on winning her heart.

Paris theatre productions don’t tend to come close to the quality we see in London’s West End. Many of the big musical productions that France produce, fail to impress and meet the standard we expect to see. So it is lovely to see a beautifully staged, UK production of Guys and Dolls at new Theatre Marigny, right by the Champs Elysees.

Ria Jones is glorious at Adelaide, exuding perfect comedic timing (a very different role from the iconic Norma Desmond which she is so famously known for). She is well paired with Christopher Howell as long time fiancé Nathan Detroit. Christopher has great stage presence and commands the stage, drawing the audience in. Clare Halse gives a sweet and confident performance as Sarah and Matthew Goodgame shows a warmer side to Sky than I’ve seen in other productions. Other notable performances come from Joel Montague who’s gives a charming performance as Nicely Nicely Johnson and Barry James is adorable as fellow missionary.

Full cast includes Rachel Izen, Matthew Whennell-Clark, Jack North, Brendan Cull, Ross McLaren, Gavin Wilkinson, Ian Gareth Jones, Thomas-Lee Kidd, Jo Morris, Alexandra Waite-Roberts, Emily Goodenough, Delycia Belgrave, Bobbie Little, Joanna Goodwin, Robbie Mc Millan, Adam Denma and Louis Mackrodt.

The music in Guys and Dolls is classic and it’s surprising how many songs you realise you know! The set is nicely designed and everything about this production works well.

Guys and Dolls is playing at the Paris Theatre Marigny until 27 July 2019 so book yourself a cheeky trip on the Eurostar and go support UK theatre abroad!

Reviewed by West End Wilma


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