Guys and Dolls is a musical by Jo Swerling, Abe Burrows and Frank Loesser based on ‘The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown’ and ‘Blood Pressure’, two short stories by Damon Runyon. It follows the story of New York City gamblers in pursuits of their luck-made fortunes and ladies.
Simon Lipkin (Miss Atomic Bomb, I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change, Rock of Ages) plays Nathan Detroit, who runs illegal crap gambling games, to the ignorance of his fiancée of 14 years, Miss Adelaide. Lipkin is sensational in the role, playing Detroit with great comic ability and timing, delivering a particularly touching performance of ‘Sue Me’.
Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect (TV), Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (TV), Night of the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (TV)) makes her West End debut as Miss Adelaide, Nathan Detroit’s long-suffering fiancée and dancer in a club, the Hot Box.
Sky Masterson is played by Oliver Tompsett (We Will Rock You, Rock of Ages, Wicked). Masterson is a gambler with a reputation for making crazy bets who falls in love with Sarah Brown, a missionary leader, after taking her to Havana on a bet. Tompsett is phenomenal in the role playing the cool, slick gambler with charm, delivering ‘Luck Be A Lady’ fantastically, a highlight of the show. Seeing Lipkin and Tompsett together on stage again is a particular delight, reliving the duo’s Rock of Ages success.
Siubhan Harrison (I Call My Brothers, The Armour, From Here to Eternity) plays Sarah Brown, a local missionary worker, who although she believes she knows who her ideal man will be, singing ‘I’ll Know’, reluctantly falls for Sky Masterson. Harrison delivers spectacular vocals, particularly with ‘If I Were A Bell’.
Gavin Spokes (One Man Two Guvnors, 1984, She Stoops to Conquer) played Nicely Nicely Johnson, and leads the cast in the standout number of the show, ‘Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat’. Spokes also performs ‘Guys and Dolls’, a fabulous duet with Jason Pennycooke (Memphis, La Cage Aux Folles, Kiss Me Kate), who plays Benny Southstreet.
Guys and Dolls features many high energy, slick dance numbers. The ensemble are all spectacular, with Selina Hamilton (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Rock of Ages, Dirty Dancing) standing out, particularly in ‘Havana’.
Overall, Guys and Dolls is a marvellous show with swing-style music, brilliant dance numbers and a gangster vibe throughout. The musical is currently showing at the Phoenix Theatre. Lipkin, Wilson, Tompsett and Harrison will finish their runs in August, with new cast to be announced, booking until January 2017.
For more information on the Phoenix Theatre, visit West End Theatre Guide’s website: http://www.westendtheatreguide.london/west-end-theatres/phoenix-theatre/