REVIEW: Anything Goes, Southwick Opera

Lucy Newton, centre, as Reno Sweeney in Southwick Opera's Anything Goes. Picture: Miles Davies
Lucy Newton, centre, as Reno Sweeney in Southwick Opera's Anything Goes. Picture: Miles Davies

Southwick Opera set sail on the SS American last week for a well-received performance of Anything Goes.

In the lead role as Reno Sweeney was Lucy Newton, who has a wealth of professional experience, appearing and touring in West End musicals.

The quality was apparent from her from the start and she clearly had by far the biggest wardrobe, filled with stunning dresses, perhaps appropriate for the star of the show.

Jordan Southwell, who is enjoying a successful career including roles in Doctor Who on TV and Oliver! in the West End, played cheeky chappy Billy Crocker.

He injected humour and energy into the role, ably supported by Tessa Phippard as Hope Harcourt, singing with Southwick Opera for the first time.

The musical is set aboard an ocean liner and Brian Jones’ set design allowed for a live band to play from up on ‘aft deck’.

Out front, there was plenty of room for the big dance numbers. Southwick Opera is always good at doing crowd scenes, packing the stage with a large cast, as was evident again in numbers like Bon Voyage.

There were also two moveable boxes which pulled out and opened up as inside cabins. The only downside on opening night was the stage crew’s struggle to get them in place smoothly and efficiently, though this perhaps improved during the five-day run.

I did also wonder whether it would have looked better for them to appear in sailor suits rather than in blacks with ‘crew’ in large letters, as this drew the eye away from the action.

But that is an aside to the overall performance, which received a standing ovation from a number of people in the audience last Tuesday.

The big numbers really wowed. There was some great tap dancing in Anything Goes to end Act One and some super high kicks in Blow Gabriel Blow to open Act Two.

Among the other notable performances was Richard Connelly as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. His big number, The Gypsy in Me, alongside Lucy Newton, was just brilliant.

It was a big musical with a big cast and good to see so many people getting involved.

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