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  • Rosie Tatham

Review: Guys and Dolls

Photograph: Andrew Morris

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The Edinburgh University Footlights delivered a captivating rendition of the classic musical Guys and Dolls. As soon as you walked into the Pleasance Theatre you were transported to the ‘Hot Box’ in the bustling streets of 1950s New York, with the brilliant pops of colour from Holly Stephens' outstanding set design, accompanied by the live band (directed by Emily Philips).

This follows the chaotic lives of gamblers, Sky Masterson (played by Sebastian Schneeberger), Nathan Detroit (played by Beni Barker) and their enchanting love interests, Miss Adelaide (played by Megan Le Brocq) and missionary Sarah Brown (played by Nina Harman).

The production of this musical was just impeccable, with Phee Simpson’s incredible direction, every scene carried colour, energy, and the slick scene changes created an all-round synergic performance. Nuances, such as the illumination of different signs as they were referred to in the dialogue (masterfully executed by Tom Beazley), and the character's name, ‘Nathan’, spelt out on cast members' costumes, exhibited the thought behind every scene.

Every single cast member was jaw-droppingly talented (I wish I could name you all), and this was expertly demonstrated through their dynamic dance numbers, which truly stole the show. Choreographed by Rosie Fletcher, this ranged from handstands to unexpected tap dancing (a highlight) and kept the audience (and the cast) on their toes. Each Hot Box Dancer carried unique charm and their performances escalated in brilliance as the show progressed. Special mention must go to the number 'Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat’, with Benji Castella Mcdonald. His incredible voice melded seamlessly with the harmonious movements of the ensemble and created an energy that ensured there was never a dull moment!

Nina Harman, Sebastian Schneeberger. Photograph: Andrew Morris

Another must-mention is Megan Le Brocq, whose exquisite vocal control and flair made for a loveable and hilarious Miss Adelaide. Paired with her fiancé Nathan (Beni Barker), these two brought an infectious vigour to the stage. Barker charismatically portrays Nathan whilst simultaneously frustrating his fiancé, and the audience, by refusing to marry her (after 14 years) or give up his gambling. Meanwhile, Nina Harman beautifully played Sarah Brown, a missionary who becomes reluctantly infatuated by gambler Sky Masterson (Sebastian Schneeberger). Harman's ability to carry emotion through her voice (even when playing drunk) was outstanding. Schneeberger's incredible voice also charmed the audience, and his brilliant shift from a ruthless gambler to a devoted missionary was so fun to watch.

To summarise, with its incredible direction, unmatched set, lighting, and cast, this production is worth nothing less than 5 stars.

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