Guys and Dolls, Yeovil Amateur Operatic Society, Octagon Theatre

FROM the first moment, as the terrific band strikes up Frank Loesser’s overture and the curtains open to a stunning tableau, the scene is set for an evening of stylish delight at the Octagon in Yeovil as YAOS embarks on only its second Guys and Dolls.

Directed and choreographed by Alan Spencer with Matthew Holmes in charge of the brass-heavy orchestra, this “musical fable of Broadway” comes to vibrant life in the hands of the versatile company, whose name might include “amateur” but whose productions are anything but.

Not many such companies can boast the skills of professional dancers and musicians at their call, but this is the area where Yeovil really shines – forget the footie.

Damon Runyan’s stories chart the progress of romance for gambling impresario Nathan Detroit and his long-term fiancee Miss Adelaide, and for the unlikely coupling of the famous gambler Sky Masterson and Sgt Sarah Brown of the Save A Soul mission.

And the continuing background is of the peripatetic crap game that Nathan is running, steps ahead of the encroaching police – it’s the time of Prohibition, remember!

Those sleazy horns in the pit lay down the rhythm of the piece, which includes standards like Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat (led by the irrepressible Will Poulton as Nicely Nicely), Adelaide’s Lament, Luck Be a Lady Tonight, If I Were a Bell, I’ve Never Been in Love Before and of course the title song.

Husband and wife Paul and Marie Brolly are Nathan and Adelaide, he running to catch up with himself and away from her nuptial clutches, and she sensationally singing and dancing her way through psychosomatic disorders.

Ben Scott, a local landlord, makes an amazing am dram debut in the role of Sky and Lisa Marie Reid is his mission doll.

Once again Shaun Driver demonstrates his hoofing skills, and I don’t think I have ever seen Brother Abernathy better done than by Ernie Thomas.

The big song and dance scenes are exceptional in this production, with some inventive moments and fine singing to match the impeccable dancing.

It’s a great show and it’s on until Saturday 12th October.

Next year, YAOS will stage Sister Act in the spring and Jeckyll and Hyde in the autumn … an appetising prospect for their many fans.


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