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Guys, Dolls & Pies

Damon Runyon
Guy Masterson, TTI in association with Shooting The Breeze
Assembly George Square Studios
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It’s Damon Runyon's 1937. Three of Boston’s colourful and questionable element are stretching their individual bragging rights as a lifestyle. They have discovered some of their counterparts have put up some money on an “eater” who cannot be out-eaten. Not ones to be able to pass on a wager, they throw down. They know just the gentleman, a certain Mr. Nicely Nicely Jones (a.k.a. Quintin) who they are certain can not be beat. $10,000 is the agreed amount and a date is set six weeks in the future at Mindy’s, a popular eatery in New York.

So down to New York they go, hunting Mr. Jones. But Nicely Nicely has recently engaged himself to a Ms. Hilda Slokum who refuses to marry until the portly Jones reduces. But the dieted Jones has an alternate eater, a Ms Violet Shoenberger.

There is a second short play set in the same time period and almost identical characters. A wounded Rudolf has found himself alone in an boarded-up building when a small kitten wanders in. Rudolf takes him in and names him Johnny One-Eye; the kitten is also among the injured.

This is what is known as a shaggy dog story. Lots of fun and no more dangerous than that last slice of pumpkin pie. Lovingly fashioned from Damon Runyon short stories, they fit so nicely together and have given a large catalogue of characters for these three fine actors to slip in and out of. The delightful Ian Shaw, Duncan Mounfield and Duncan Henderson quickly establish the genre of “mobster with a heart of gold”: a faithful spinoff to Guys and Dolls. The thick accents with “lots of AHs and not too may Rs” and costumes paint the picture.

Guy Masterson has proved his Midas touch. This is just too much fun—for the whole family. You should go see.

Reviewer: Catherine Lamm