BWW Review: GUYS AND DOLLS, The Mill at Sonning

BWW Review: GUYS AND DOLLS, The Mill at Sonning

BWW Review: GUYS AND DOLLS, The Mill at SonningSomewhere in the sleepy village of Sonning, next to a bridge and along the Thames, Nathan Detroit is planning an underground craps game, and Sky Masterson wants in. Guys and Dolls has come to the Mill at Sonning, and brought with it all the sleazy music, flashy dancing, and good, clean fun you could want in an evening.

Frank Loesser's classic musical is light on story: Nathan wants to organise a craps game, Adelaide wants to get married, Sky wants Sarah, and Sarah wants to save his soul. Through clever dialogue that riffs and bounces like a sax solo, and with some of the sharpest and quickest one-liners ever to come out of Broadway, they lie, woo and cry until the dice are thrown for the last time.

The Mill is a small, intimate, venue with a modestly sized thrust stage and an audience capacity of 150. But owing to the swinging music and high energy of the cast, the venue feels twice as large, and the audience twice as young. Showstopper after showstopper, broken up by the occasional tender ballad, make sure you never stop tapping their feet. (After I got home, my housemate kept shooting me dirty looks, as I'd been humming in the kitchen. I thought, "Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down...").

Joseph Pitcher's choreography keeps the energy whirling around the stage like a blizzard in a bottle in a three-piece suit. The set, by Diego Pitarch, ushers the audience into Runyonland, and makes clever use of every square inch of space.

Standout performances include Richard Carson as a suave and silky-voiced Sky Masterson, and Natalie Hope as Adelaide, sneezing and cracking wise with perfect comedic timing - but really, there is no weak link in this cast.

This production of Guys and Dolls might not pull out all the stops like they do on Broadway or the West End, but there is no deficit of talent, energy, spirit - or luck.

Guys and Dolls at the Mill at Sonning until 23 February, 2019

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