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Review – Anything Goes: a truly unforgettable experience

By Liv Wilson

Anything Goes

Music and Lyrics Cole Porter

Original book Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse

Revised book Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse

Director Miranda Selwood

Musical Director Jacob Cavanough

Choreographer Bec Swan

Phoenix Ensemble

Tin Shed

Beenleigh Showgrounds

Season: performing every Friday and Saturday in March

Phoenix ensemble kicked off their 2023 season with a top-notch rendition of Anything Goes.

The story concerns madcap antics aboard an ocean liner bound from New York to London. Billy Crocker is a stowaway in love with heiress Hope Harcourt, who is engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Nightclub singer Reno Sweeney and Public Enemy Number 13, "Moonface" Martin, aid Billy in his quest to win Hope. The musical introduced such songs as "Anything Goes", "You're the Top", and "I Get a Kick Out of You.".

If you're looking for a musical that's full of energy, laughs, and show-stopping numbers, then Anything Goes is the show to get along to! The performances are outstanding, with the actors delivering their lines and belting out the songs with incredible skill and passion. The choreography is also top-notch, with every step and move executed flawlessly. From the colourful costumes to the impressive set design, every detail has been carefully considered and executed at the highest of quality. Overall, this is a must-see production that will leave you feeling thoroughly entertained and uplifted.

The leading lady of the evening was Jamie O’Donoghue as Reno Sweeney. O’Donoghue blew me away time and time again with her gorgeous vocals and feisty comedic timing. I am such a fan of Jamie’s musical abilities and it was amazing to see her in the spotlight in a role that truly compliments her range. Every solo musical number that O’Donoghue performed was perfect; however I think she shone the brightest in ‘You’re The Top’, ‘Friendship’ and ‘Blow, Gabriel, Blow’. She looked absolutely stunning in this role and I commend her for putting on such an impeccable show for us. It’s hard to believe O’Donoghue is performing in a community theatre setting, she could easily be headlining a professional show and I have no doubt her bright future will include just that-bravo!

Tristan Vanyai took the cake for comedic characterisation and audience laughs with his portrayal of Moonface. Vanyai nailed the character’s accent and physicality which added a fun burst of energy to the stage. I was really impressed with Vanyai’s vocal strength during ‘Friendship’ and ‘Be Like The Bluebird’.

Zach Price and Kristen Barros as Billy Crocker and Hope Harcourt were sweet and very complementary to each other, both vocally and theatrically. Price was impressive during the entire show and particularly stole my attention during the various tap sequences where he brought massive amounts of charisma and technique to the stage. Barros had strong acting and accent work and was wonderful in ‘It’s De-Lovely’ with Price by her side.

The costume team completely outdid themselves with their work in Anything Goes. Each cast member had multiple costumes that were all designed beautifully. The volume of costumes blew me away and I think this team has produced some of my favourite costumes in the Brisbane independent theatre space!

Anything Goes is traditionally a dance heavy musical which was honoured nicely by Swan. I was interested to see how the small theatre would house such large tap numbers and I was pleasantly surprised that it was done much better than I could ever have expected. The ensemble’s dancing was sharp and they didn’t miss a beat. The routines were rehearsed but appeared natural and in character, which is a great testament to Swan’s ability as a choreographer and dance leader. GraceClark, Kayleigh Bancroft and Lauren Ryan were some of the standout performers of the show.

A shout out to Rod Jones and Nat Box for their hilarious characterisation throughout the evening. The larger than life characters had me laughing near every time they were on stage. The dynamic between the two was fun and light-hearted which worked perfectly.

From the soaring vocals to the intricate instrumentation, every element came together seamlessly to create a truly unforgettable experience.


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