Review Roundup: Nicholas Hytner's Immersive GUYS & DOLLS, Opens at the Bridge Theatre

Nicholas Hytner directs the first musical to be presented at the Bridge Theatre

By: Mar. 14, 2023
Guys & Dolls - Standing & Stage Area Show Information
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Guys & Dolls - Standing & Stage Area

Guys and Dolls is now playing at the Bridge Theatre! Tickets are initially on sale through to 2 September 2023. Read reviews for the production!

Making their Bridge Theatre debuts are Daniel Mays (Nathan Detroit), Andrew Richardson (Sky Masterson), Celinde Schoenmaker (Sarah Brown), Marisha Wallace (Miss Adelaide) and Cedric Neal (Nicely-Nicely Johnson). Also appearing are Jordan Castle (Harry the Horse), Cornelius Clarke (Lieutenant Brannigan), Cameron Johnson (Big Jule), Anthony O'Donnell (Arvide Abernathy), Mark Oxtoby (Benny Southstreet), Ryan Pidgen (Rusty Charlie) and Katy Secombe (General Cartwright). Completing the cast are Simon Anthony, Lydia Bannister, Kathryn Barnes, Callum Bell, Cindy Belliot, Petrelle Dias, Ike Fallon, Leslie Garcia Bowman, George Ioannides, Robbie McMillan, Perry O'Dea, Charlotte Scott, Tinovimbanashe Sibanda, Isabel Snaas, Sasha Wareham and Dale White in the ensemble.

Nicholas Hytner directs this first musical to be presented at The Bridge - a musical fable of Broadway based on the story and characters of Damon Runyon, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows - with set by Bunny Christie, choreography by Arlene Phillips, costumes by Deborah Andrews and Bunny Christie, associate direction and choreography by James Cousins, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Paul Arditti, musical direction by Tom Brady, orchestrations by Charlie Rosen and casting by Charlotte Sutton.

Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out London: I appreciate I've been a bit giddy here, and yes, I have in fact seen other shows with interactive sets before. But what Hytner and Christie have done so brilliantly is seamlessly integrate this stuff into mainstream musical entertainment. Not every show is going to benefit from staging along these lines. But as the era of the proscenium arch draws to a close, it feels like most directors of musicals could learn something from this. 'Guys and Dolls' ends in a big dance party, the cast congaing through our midst, posing gamely for selfies, and just generally letting off a bit of steam for five minutes. It's a moment of pure joy, the last and best of a non-stop night of them.

Arifa Akbar, The Guardian: Maybe because of the ever-reconstructing set, the drama itself never quite sweeps us in, although there is a sweet dynamic between Richardson and Schoenmaker, as well as good comic chemistry between Wallace and Mays. The choreography (by Arlene Phillips with James Cousins) never quite flies, maybe owing to the slightly cramped size of the sets, but this show's formal effort of reimagining offers a lot to admire, even if I did so rather from afar.

David Benedict, Variety: Since Nicholas Hytner, former artistic director of The National Theatre, is one of the finest, most detailed Shakespeare directors in the land, you could be forgiven for forgetting that he really knows how to put on a show - and then some. Given that his career spans everything from "One Man, Two Guvnors" to the original "Miss Saigon," expectations in London were high that, armed with arguably the greatest musical comedy ever written, he might be onto a winner. Revise your expectations: His immersive, explosively joyous "Guys and Dolls" is a solid-gold knockout.

Nick Curtis, Evening Standard: Hytner and his cast pay as much attention to the drily comic script by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows as they do to Loesser's score and lyrics. "I'm gonna be great in the kitchen," Adelaide promises. "I've tried all the other rooms." The interwar suits and frocks are gorgeous. I can't stress enough the meticulousness and care that has gone into every aspect of this show. Blissful and exhilarating.

Same Marlowe, The Stage: The immersive approach may feel like a novelty when applied to this best-loved of shows, with its fabulously hummable Frank Loesser score. Yet in truth, the effect is less than transformative. For all the vibrant fun of Bunny Christie's designs, we don't really feel as if we're swaggering through a heady night aglitter with tawdry promise, hanging around the counter at Mindy's Diner, or interloping at a gangsters' illegal crapshoot. It's all a little too slick and neat for that.

Sarah Crompton: WhatsOnStage: But the vigour comes not just from the intimacy, but from performances that feel fresh minted, that dig below the period cliché and the gambling lingo to discover the truth of misplaced loves and longings that lie beneath. Daniel Mays is a glory as Nathan, all fussy gestures and twitching shoulders, revelling in his street smarts - "I've been running the crap game since I was a juvenile delinquent" - but with a wary vulnerability.

Bob Verini, New York Stage Review:  But it all comes down to the guys & the dolls, spectacular in (once again) unexpected ways. Far from the usual mournful kvetcher, Daniel Mays plays Nathan Detroit like a tireless vaudeville comic at the wrong end of a shooting gallery: always in motion, gamely fighting off every disaster. Marisha Wallace might be channeling Nell Carter in Ain’t Misbehavin’ for a Miss Adelaide sultry enough to raise your pulse but honest enough to break your heart. Andrew Richardson’s startling resemblance to noir character actor Steve Cochran adds a welcome touch of gravity to his charming Sky Masterson. Meanwhile, fetching Charlotte Scott (on for the usual Miss Sarah at the performance I attended) goes toe to toe with Richardson in a performance of steely grace that melts, after a couple of rum punches, into romance in bloom. By the end, there’s no doubt these lovers are meant for each other.

David Finkle, New York Stage Review: There are revivals and there are REVIVALS.  The revival of the classic Jo Swerling-Abe Burrows-Frank Loesser Guys & Dolls (1950) at London’s Bridge Theatre is a REVIVAL. It may be its like it has never been seen. What the theater’s co-founder and most frequent director Nicholas Hytner and choreographers Arlene Phillips and James Cousins have accomplished is an ingenious and enviable example of enhancing a classic musical comedy while being true to every line and lyric in it.


GUYS & DOLLS 2023 London Cast Recording to be Released This Month Photo
GUYS & DOLLS 2023 London Cast Recording to be Released This Month

Broadway Records will release London’s Bridge Theatre cast recording of Guys & Dolls, available digitally on September 29, 2023.

Swing Callum Bell Saves Performance of GUYS & DOLLS Photo
Swing Callum Bell Saves Performance of GUYS & DOLLS

Swing actor Callum Bell stepped into the lead role of Nicely Nicely Johnson in GUYS & DOLLS at The Bridge Theatre without any rehearsal. Read about how Bell's last-minute performance saved the show and delighted the audience.

Review Roundup: Nicholas Hytners Immersive GUYS & DOLLS Photo
Review Roundup: Nicholas Hytner's Immersive GUYS & DOLLS

Guys and Dolls is now playing at the Bridge Theatre! The production runs from 3 March 2023 with opening night on 14 March 2023. Tickets are initially on sale through to 2 September 2023. Read reviews for the production!

Photos: First Look at Nicholas Hytners Immersive GUYS AND DOLLS Photo
Photos: First Look at Nicholas Hytner's Immersive GUYS AND DOLLS

Guys and Dolls is now playing at the Bridge Theatre! The production runs from 3 March 2023 with opening night on 14 March 2023. Tickets are initially on sale through to 2 September 2023. Check out all new photos here!



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