Guys and Dolls

Music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows
Mill at Sonning
The Mill at Sonning

Victoria Serra as Sarah and Richard Carson as Sky Credit: Andreas Lambis
Natalie Hope as Adelaide and ensemble Credit: Andreas Lambis
Victoria Serra as Sarah and Richard Carson as Sky Credit: Andreas Lambis

The Mill at Sonning is a delightful theatre, an absolute little gem set on the river with the mill wheel still turning. It provides an appealing theatrical experience that includes a warm welcome with an excellent dinner in the restaurant before watching the play in the intimate auditorium. No wonder it won the UK’s most welcoming theatre award for the past three years.

This year’s vibrant holiday season production of Guys and Dolls, based on the stories of Damon Runyan, with glorious music by Frank Loesser, is filled with energy and joy, skilfully directed and imaginatively choreographed by Joseph Pitcher in this rambunctious, splendid production.

Set in the 1950s, designer Diego Pitarch has created an inventive, atmospheric slice of the sidewalks of downtown New York.

Stephane Anelli delivers an excellent performance as the small-town hustler Nathan Detroit. He is searching for a new venue for his floating crap game, much to the angst of Lt. Brannigan (Jeremy Rose) who is determined to thwart these illegal gamblers and clean up the streets.

Nathan’s fiancée of fourteen years is hoping that this year they will get married. Natalie Hope shines as the downtrodden nightclub performer Miss Adelaide at the Hot Box Club and sings with passion.

Richard Carson excels as the suave, high-rolling gambler Sky Masterson who accepts a $1,000 bet with Nathan to take a woman of his choice to dinner in Havana.

He chooses Sarah Brown from the local Mission—a true challenge, but will his charms persuade her to join him for dinner in Cuba?

Victoria Serra gives a delightfully feisty performance, totally embracing her role with panache and she does succumb to the tropical beat and the rum cocktails.

The impressive large ensemble cast are truly terrific, each one giving their all as they sing dance and perform with total commitment and verve.

The “Crapshooters Ballet” is a high-energy, slick number and Oliver Jackson as Nicely Nicely leads an effervescent rendition of “Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat” that brought richly deserved enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Particular mention to musical director Charlie Ingles's arrangements and his talented band who bring the score so splendidly to life.

This is a wholly delightful and accomplished show that should not be missed.

Reviewer: Robin Strapp

Are you sure?