There have been some outstanding new musicals opening in the West End in these past few years. Ghost The Musical and Matilda The Musical were the two biggest shows to hit London in 2011 and, love it or hate it, 2010’s Love Never Dies was the talk of the town when it came to the Adelphi Theatre. There have been countless others and though they may not have all found lasting success, they did have their moment in the sun.
As exciting as the arrival of a new show may be, the return of an old one can be just as thrilling. There have been a number of revivals in the West End, most recently Singing in the Rain took over at the Palace Theatre and has received a downpour of praise from audiences. Not every popular old show can find their way back to the West End though; some go on tour instead, bringing their particular blend of musical entertainment to audiences all around the country. Cats, for example, is set to tour in 2013. Others may come back for one night only, in a special celebratory performance. This may be in the form of a stage production, or most commonly, in a revised concert performance – this is exactly what is happening with Guys and Dolls this August.
Guys and Doll is a 1950s Broadway musical inspired by the short stories of Damon Runyan, most specifically The IdIyll of Miss Sarah Brown and Blood Pressure. It centres around the underworld of early twentieth century New York, a city of gangsters, gamblers and other unsavoury characters. With a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows and music/lyrics by Frank Loesser, Guys and Dolls was a runaway hit, spawning countless other productions in both London and America, and was adapted into a film in 1955 which starred Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine.
Now this summer, Guys and Dolls returns to London for an exclusive five-performance concert run at Cadogen Hall, from 22nd-25th August 2012. It features a superb line-up of performers: Ruthie Henshall stars as showgirl Adelaide, with Graham Bickley as her fiance and local bigwig Nathan Detroit. Anna-Jane Casey plays missionary Sarah, Tim Howar the gambling Sky Masterson and Dennis Waterman is the narrator. Accompanied by the 30-strong Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra – conducted by musical director Richard Balcombe – they will perform the musical’s popular score, including its classic songs such as Luck Be A Lady, If I Were A Bell and, of course, its title song Guys and Dolls. Stage direction comes from Stuart Labey.
Guys and Dolls is a funny and romantic musical that has remained a favourite with fans for over fifty years. There will be those who have seen a stage production of it and those who haven’t, but know its music. I’m sure there will also be those who know nothing about it whatsoever as well. Whichever of these categories you fall into, as a theatregoer, this is one concert you will definitely want to experience.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Thursday 5th April 2012