The Sainsbury Singers presented Anything Goes on 2-6 November 2004 at The Hexagon Theatre, Reading.
Reading Evening Post
“The Sainsbury Singers exuberant interpretation of Cole Porter’s superb musical comedy Anything Goes was a wonderful tonic for a damp autumn evening in Reading.
The Hexagon stage was cleverly transformed into a trans-Atlantic cruise ship and the audience was transported back in time to the 1930s.
As the overture progressed, we were introduced to the captain, his crew and the strange assortment of passengers as they embarked.
The pivot of the evening was the character Billy Crocker, arriving with papers for his employer he stowed away on board and became central to all the storylines that unfurled.
Nigel Antell, as Billy, moved effortlessly through his role, his comedy timing and singing were superb. Demure Hope Harcourt, his estranged girlfriend was portrayed by Emma Furnell, a perfect partner for Billy – their duet All Through the Night was excellently performed.
As the suitor chosen by Hope’s social climbing mother, played with great aplomb by Isobel Stebbings, Chris Faulkner was exceedingly funny as the rich English aristocrat Sir Evelyn Oakleigh.
Helping Billy stow away on board the ship was gangster Moonface Martin, a role Brian Bretney obviously enjoyed.
Cath Hannan in her first major role with the Sainsbury Singers, played Bonnie, Moonface Martin’s moll. A major part in any production is difficult to perform, but to take on and maintain the role of a ditsy girl, who is also expected to sing and dance well, is a big challenge.
Reno Sweeney, the former evangelist, now Nightclub Singer was brought to life by Helen Eggleton.
Cameo performances were plentiful, but mention must be made of Peter Cox as the drunken Elisha J Whitney and of Gordon Wyard as wheelchair-bound Major Walter Williams.
Although having a wealth of acting talent within the comany, the strength of the society lies in their choral singing, superbly demonstrated with the harmonies at the opening of act two. Produced by Wendy Carne, this was a memorable show.”
“Romance, flirtatious amours and desperate disguises are all part of the recipe for an exciting cruise on a transatlantic liner bound from New York to England. Add the rhythm and spice of Cole Porter’s melodic score and the Sainsbury Singers produced winning entertainment!
Directed by Wendy Carne, all the bubbling humour of the libretto had us in stitches, while choreography by Isobel Stebbings and Kim Antell was a delight to the eye, particularly the tap dancing routines. The chorus expressively portrayed the wide assortment of passengers and were accompanied by the Orchestra which was conducted by Michael Sharman.
Nigel Antell excelled as the roguish Billy, intent on his pursuit of attractive Hope, performed with poise and a sweet singing voice by Emma Furnell.
Newcomer to a principal part, Chris Faulkner impressed as “silly ass”, Sir Evelyn Oakleigh and Helen Eggleton shone as the brash night club dancer – her song and dance numbers