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April 2007
Anything Goes
by Mike Leigh

reviewed by Lorraine Parker in The Isle of Wight County Press 09/03/07
(reproduced by kind permission of the Isle of Wight County Press)

THERE is plenty of pizzazz in Cowes Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society’s performance of Cole Porter’s smash hit musical, Anything Goes.
Holly Salter is fantastic as singing showgirl Reno Sweeney — her singing and dancing is full of energy and the dance routines with her troupe of girls are particularly good.
Martyn Stanley, who plays romantic Billy Crocker, shows both a good singing voice and sensitivity towards those he is singing with — his duets with both Reno and Hope are well-balanced.
Hope Harcourt, the beautiful society debutante, is played by 18-year-old Bryony Davies, who gives a dramatic performance that belies her tender age.
Paul Birch is a scream as middle-aged Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, the eccentric Englishman who is to marry Hope, but harbours a dark secret.
John Normanton gives a solid performance as Eli Whitney, while Theresa Woolven stars as Hope’s mother, Evangeline Harcourt, of whom Eli becomes fond.
Ulus Bahcecioglu is great as philosophical gangster Moonface Martin, while Tracy Tetlow — who also choreographs this lively show — is the perfect American broad as Erma.
No transatlantic liner would be complete without a full complement of sailors and Paul Fallow and Martin Woolven play the ship’s captain and purser respectively.
There is a great sailors’ dance routine with a troupe of four sailors, while Reno’s girls — played by Lauren Buckett, Chloe Savill, Tracy Tetlow and Jenny Arnott — are excellent.
The cast also includes lots of passengers, a reverend and his two followers, reporters, a photographer and FBI agents — plus an old lady admirably played by Daphne Brown.
Occasionally the singers do need a touch more volume — it is hard to strike a balance between vocal power and orchestral strength and I commend CAODS for not miking up their performers, because often articial amplification interferes with the finer nuances of the performance.
Overall, this is a hugely enjoyable show of which director Reg Fussell, musical director Robin Tweddle and the cast should be proud.