The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings





Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants









Free Updates
Writing for Us

Butterfly Valves,Globe Valves,Plug Valves link check valve, ball valve, valves Butterfly valves 2011.06.05, Gate valve,, Ball Valves,Gate Valves,Check Valves globe valve, butterfly valves, flange
China Valve manufacturer and Supplier
A CurtainUp London Review
Anything goes

Evangeline Harcourt: Alcohol has not touched my lips
Elisha Whitney: You mean you've found a short cut?
Anything Goes
The Nautical Quartet
(Photo: Catherine Ashmore)
Even those who don't know the show must have tapped a toe to its title song; everyone else will already be aware of Cole Porter's sublime thirties musical. Trevor Nunn's production has just transferred from playing at the National Theatre earlier this year and could not be more at home in Drury Lane. Famous for hosting musicals with great feats of mock maritime stage craft, the Theatre Royal has featured a royal wedding liner catching fire and sinking (Glamorous Night, 1935), a pirate ship catching fire and sinking (The New Moon, 1929) and Showboat, that floated. Set Designer, John Gunter has done an ace job of the SS America, a first rate rendering of a second class thirties' cruise ship. For cruise ships in those days were all about glamour, and the America's captain is distraught that he doesn't have any celebrities aboard.

The National Theatre had a little criticism after producing musicals like this. My Fair Lady and South Pacific were seen as cashings-in or pandering to public taste, as if this were a bad thing. Everyone knows that musicals make money, whether in the Lyttleton or on a transfer to the West End, and a portion of this goes straight back over the river to the National's coffers. The glamour of theatre is an undeniable part of its attraction, Anything Goes is an embodiment and recollection of it from a very specific era.

Cole Porter's world, the one he crams aboard the SS America is the same as we would find in the pages of Heat had it been running then and edited by PG Wodehouse. Full of joyous archetypes -- the young lovers, the vamp, the drunk and a foppish Englishman -- the plot puts them in a confined space and lets them bump into each other. The effect is comic and very, very tuneful; for example "I Get A Kick Out Of You", "You're the Top" and of course the title track, Anything Goes.

The plot is simple and reliable: confused identities, mis-matched lovers and super sized characters. It all ends happily of course, with more onstage marriages than a Moonie convention, but gets there with enough charm to force your forgiveness. The plot is there as a vehicle, a delivery system for its sophisticated passengers: the songs.

Cole Porter is perhaps the greatest of a crop of songwriters that distinguished the period and Anything Goes is arguably the best collection of Porter songs in a single musical. They all have lyrics that demand concentration if you are to enjoy their wit fully. My favourite was "You're the tower, that leans in Pisa. You're the smile, on the Mona Lisa" from "You're The Top" but there are plenty of other contenders.

Stand out performances were all around but in a crowded field Sally Ann Triplett and Simon Day as Reno and English Evelyn were excellent. Their dance to "The Gypsy in Me" was hilarious and very sweet. The central lovers "a-twain" (John Barrowman and Mary Stockley) were very good but outflanked by the eccentricity of the other characters. Two bit gangster Moonface (Martin Marquez) was a fine, scene stealing example of this, although his greatest moment is actually offstage with a Tommy gun and a clay pigeon. But it is really Triplett's performance that defines the show; her sheer presence in set pieces like "Blow Gabriel Blow" could make you think you were in the golden age of Broadway Theatre 70 years ago. It's also a tribute to her and Day's acting that the marriage of their disparate characters seems normal rather than grotesque.

It might have seemed like Reno's show entirely were it not for the awesome dance numbers. Stephen Mear's choreography showcased both individual virtuosity and feats of ensemble dancing that made you gape. "Blow Gabriel Blow" showed both elements best and gradually teased the audience's involvement back to levels they'd reached by the end of the first half.

Overall this is a hugely enjoyable, highly stylish revival with credit due all around, not least to the technicians. The set design team pull off some impressive transformations in this production; a revolving stage allows us onto the deck, the bar and even the brig of the SS America. Trevor Nunn and the crafts team must have designed the lighting and look of the show minutely, for a piece with such potential for over-indulgence, it dodges the garish at every step. Between the design and the cast the whole enterprise seems effortlessly stylish, as all style must be, and the evening is mightily entertaining. If you are in the market for a musical, catch Anything Goes before it sails away.

Anything Goes
Music and lyrics by Cole Porter
Original Book by PG Wodehouse and Guy Bolton, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
New Book by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman
Directed by Trevor Nunn

Starring: John Barrowman, Simon Day, David Delve, Paul Grunert, Barrie Ingham, Martin Marquez, Annette McLaughlin, Mary Stockley, Susan Tracy, Sally Ann Triplett
With: Christopher Bennett, Philip Browne, Anthony Cable, Raymond Chai, Yao Chin, Leigh Constantine, Elizabeth Cooper-Gee, Edwina Cox, Julia-Ann Dixon, Jason Gardiner, Shaun Henson, Julia Hinchcliffe, Christopher Howell, Emma-Jay Hurst, Adam Jones, Sarah Keeton, Duncan McVicar, Matthew Malthouse, Gary Milner, Lisa O'Hare, Joseph Pitcher, Nick Searle, Corey Skaggs, Nicola Sloane, Duncan Smith, Phil Snowden, Rachel Stanley, Claire Taylor, Andrew Wrght, Danielle Young
Set Designer: John Gunter
Choreographer: Stephen Mear
Costume Design: Anthony Powell
Lighting Designer: David Hersey
Musical Superviser and Director/Vocal Arranger: Gareth Valentine
Associate Director: Andrew MacBean
Musical Arranger/Orchestrator: Michael Gibson
Music Director: James Dunsmore
Original Dance Arrangements: Tom Fay
Assistant Choreographer: Nikki Woollaston
Sound: Paul Groothuis
Associate Costume Designer: Mark Bouman
Resident Director: Jamie Lloyd
Running time: Two hours 50 minutes with one interval .
Box Office: 0870 890 1109
Booking to 17th January 2004
Reviewed by Ben Clover based on 8th October 2003 Performance at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Catherine Street, London WC2. (Tube: Covent Garden)

London Theatre Walks

Mendes at the Donmar
Our Review

Peter Ackroyd's  History of London: The Biography
Peter Ackroyd's History of London: The Biography

London Sketchbook

metaphors dictionary cover
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
Click image to buy.
Go here for details and larger image.

The Broadway Theatre Archive


©Copyright 2003, Elyse Sommer, CurtainUp.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from