Guys & Dolls at the Bridge Theater Review Blissful and Intoxicating


Roadway’s best musical yet, Frank Loesser’s witty tale of New York wasters tamed by women too good for them, gets a nearly flawless revival in Nicholas Hytner’s gripping production.

The cast of four leads is spot on, with Marisha Wallace as Miss Adelaide, the scantily clad club singer who just wants to get married, a definite highlight for her powerful vocals and perfect comic timing. Seriously, give her all the awards now.

Guys & Dolls, subtitled ‘a Broadway musical fable’, is a carefully constructed juxtaposition of gamblers and god disturbers, sly and sweet, comedy and romance. Wallace’s panache is duly balanced by the melting coolness and clarity of Celinde Schoenmaker’s missionary, Sarah Brown.

Likewise, the constant sweaty dread of Daniel Mays as Adelaide’s eternal fiancé Nathan Detroit (14-year engaged and counting!) contrasts with the reserved, melodic courtesy of the extremely handsome Andrew Richardson, who makes his professional stage debut as Sky Masterson.

Although you can purchase a seat I would strongly advise a boardwalk ticket which puts you against the action. Designer Bunny Christie’s speckled backdrop blocks of fire hydrants, barber chairs and payphones rise from the floor, neon signs and traffic lights fall from the ceiling.

Hytner directs the action around this ever-changing configuration of realms and levels like a tidal eddy: everyone gets a close-up of the ring at some point; Richardson sang a few lines from Luck, Be a Lady directly to my wife. At the end, the stage management takes a well-deserved bow.

Manuel Harlan

The choreography by Arlene Phillips and James Cousins ​​in these narrow and elevated spaces is amazing. Miss Adelaide’s hot-box dancers are the most pneumatic I’ve seen, and the fiesta match that envelops Sky and Sarah on a Havana dance floor is a piece of tightly orchestrated mayhem. This scene takes place in a gay club, by the way, a mischievous hint that it might not just be cards and dice that distract Sky from “dolls.”

There are many lovely touches like this: terpsichoric echoes of Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain routine in Sarah’s swooning If I Were a Bell; the way she subconsciously undoes buttons on her uniform or girl’s dress when she’s on Sky.

Adelaide and Nathan’s possible breakup song Sue Me is accompanied by alternating go/don’t walk road signs; Adelaide’s cotton candy hair, cherry red dress and sparkly lingerie in Take Back Your Mink references another bombshell, Marilyn Monroe, who sings “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.”

The luscious romantic ballads – I’ll Know, I’ve Never Been in Love Before – are delivered with impeccable phrasing and emotion by Richardson and Schoenmaker, but Marry the Man Today, of the two female leads, is arguably the strongest in terms of torque Duet -heavy klezmer influenced chorus. Cedric Neal adds flawless gospel vibrato to the built-in showstopper Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.

Hytner and his cast pay as much attention to the wryly funny script by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows as they do to Loesser’s score and lyrics. “I’ll be great in the kitchen,” promises Adelaide. “I’ve tried all the other rooms.” The suits and dresses from the interwar period are beautiful. I can’t overstate the meticulousness and care that went into every aspect of this show. Blissful and exhilarating.

bridge theatreto September 2nd; Guys & Dolls at the Bridge Theater Review Blissful and Intoxicating

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