Theatre Mirror Review>"Guys And Dolls"

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entire contents copyright 2014 by Tony Annicone

"Guys And Dolls"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Bishop Hendricken's spring show is "Guys and Dolls". This musical is set in Damon Runyon's mythical New York City in the 1950's. It is an oddball romantic comedy, an entertaining tale of love, marriage and temperance on Broadway and is about Sarah Brown, the upright but uptight "mission doll'' out to reform the evildoers of Time Square and Sky Masterson, the slick gambler who woos her on a bet and falls in love. It is also about Miss Adelaide, the chronically ill nightclub chanteuse whose condition is brought on by the fact that she's been engaged to the same man for 14 years and Nathan Detroit, her devoted fiance who is desperate as always to find a spot for their floating crap game. Director Richie Sylvia infuses his cast with the high energy to entertain the audience all night long.

Richie also musically directs the show and taught the intricate Loesser score to the cast. Sean Donnelly conducts an excellent fifteen piece orchestra. Some of the numbers include "The Oldest Established" where the gamblers sound like a church choir, "Luck Be a Lady" where he sings about the crap game, "Sit Down You're Rockin' The Boat" when they are converted after being washed overboard and "Guys and Dolls" finale. Jamie Arnold's choreography is seen in the opening Runyonland segment, the gamblers dance, the Havana sequence and the nightclub numbers "Bushel and A Peck" and "Take Back Your Mink". The most impressive dance is the "Sit Down Your Rockin' the Boat" number.The conniving gambler, Nathan Detroit is wonderfully played by Kevin Madoian. He does a fabulous job as the hoodlum with many comic lines and displays a lot of charisma as the head gambler. Kevin displays his strong singing voice in "Oldest Established" with the guys and in "Sue Me" with Miss Adelaide. He brings out the shifty side of the character beautifully, too.  Adelaide is played by Kathryn Moore. This dim bulb stays engaged to Nathan for 14 years. Kathryn sings "Adelaide's Lament" with the proper sneezing, wheezing and coughing in it. She and the girls dance in "Bushel and a Peck" and in "Take Back Your Mink".

                                Nathan's gambling buddy, Sky Masterson is fantastically played by Dane Granja. He captures the essence of the character and is excellent in the role especially in the transition from sinner to saint. Dane's strong tenor voice is heard in the contemplative "My Time of Day" and in the conversion of sinners "Luck Be a Lady". and in his duets with Sarah, "I'll Know" and my favorite song "I've Never Been in Love Before". This number is very poignant and rendered splendidly. Michelle Houle is terrific as Sarah. She handles the straight laced role with a lot of spunk and her voice soars off the charts up to a high C in "I'll Know" and in "I've Never Been in Love Before". Michelle is hilarious in the drunk scene in Cuba when she gets into a fight and then handles her drunken song "If I Were a Bell" wonderfully, too. She shines in her duets with Dane as well as in the duet with Kathryn called "Marry the Man Today" about changing the two men after marriage.

The head gambling buddies of Nathan are Nicely Nicely Johnson and Benny Southstreet played excellently by Mike Villanueva and Peter Mancuso. Mike constantly steals every scene he is in while eating and making excuses for Nathan's behavior. He stops the show with the eleventh hour number "Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat". Mike and Peter's voices soar in "Fugue for Tinhorns'' with Zach Silveira as Rusty Charlie and in their "Guys and Dolls" duet. The latter one stops the show with their expert rendition. They have great chemistry as Nathan's buddies. Sarah's kindly grandfather, Arvide is marvelously played by Stephen Lee. He sings the loveliest song in the show "More I Cannot Wish You" which tugs at your heartstrings. Stephen shows a lot of poise in handling a major role as a freshman. Other comic performers include Dylan Silveira as the loud mouth, Harry the Horse, Luke Stirpe as Big Jule, the cheating gambler from Chicago who plays with no dots on his dice, Emily McCarthy as General Cartwright, the strict woman who wants to close down the mission but eventually has fun in the "Sit Down" song and Sam O'Neal as Lt. Branigan who wants to arrest Nathan and close down the floating crap game. Kudos to the whole cast and crew for all their hard work on this show. So for a look back at this 1950's musical, be sure to catch "Guys and Dolls'' before time runs out.

"Guys And Dolls" (3 - 6 April)
@ 2615 Warwick Avenue, WARWICK RI

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide