IODS bet on a winner

THE guys were gorgeous, the dolls delicious. Ilford Operatic and Dramatic Society s latest production of Guys and Dolls hit the boards at the Kenneth More Theatre last week with the speed and excitement of a pair of crap dice, and barely missed a beat unt

THE guys were gorgeous, the dolls delicious.

Ilford Operatic and Dramatic Society's latest production of Guys and Dolls hit the boards at the Kenneth More Theatre last week with the speed and excitement of a pair of crap dice, and barely missed a beat until the final curtain.

Under the assured direction of Brenda Brackley and the musical baton of Steven Day, this piece had everything going for it. Add the lively choreography of Zoe Ellen, and you have a winner.

Everyone knows the plot: Crap game king Nathan Detroit is putting off marrying his long-term love Adelaide while organising dice games all over New York.


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Major player Sky Masterson is in town, but his attention is diverted when Detroit sets up a wager with him - can Masterson get the buttoned-up mission lady Sarah Brown to go to Havana with him for lunch?

Masterson is master of the brief and soon Sarah is not quite so buttoned-up...

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A rollicking tale full of humour and punctuated by famous numbers like A Bushel and A Peck and Luck be a Lady.

Martin Porter and Jane Pavett were well matched as Masterson and Jane; both have good voices and a humorous twinkle and they brought great charm and charisma to their roles. This pair are also blessed with good timing and heaps of confidence and their pairing worked well.

Phil Halpin, not seen on the KMT boards for a little while, was terrific as the dodgy Detroit and Katie Waller - in a curly blonde wig that made her look just like Marilyn Monroe - was a high-octane Adelaide. Katie really is the package - voice, acting ability, timing, wonderful looks, and it was hard to take your eyes off her.

Beyond the principals, Grant Leat's cameo as Harry the Horse really stood out. Grant is a young performer, but he came across really well as the gravel-voiced hood with the threatening manner. I predict we will be seeing more of him.

I enjoyed Ed Lahiff's kind and caring Arvide Abernathy and Pam Reeve's spirited turn as General Cartwright.

Jeremy Smith put in a humorous turn as Nicely Nicely Johnson and Stephen Moon did well as the gormless Benny Southstreet.

In fact, the male ensemble - the "12 sinners" who Masterson serves up at Sarah's mission - was one of the best I have seen at the KMT; a well orchestrated group that worked extremely well together in numbers.

Katie's backing dancers also provided good value - this was another line-up that really worked.

There was the odd slip-up - Nathan musing in the early minutes on his 14-year "marriage" to fiancee Adelaide, for example. But this did nothing to undermine the joy and excitement of the piece.

- SUE LEEMAN

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