The Sheffield Crucible’s revival of Anything Goes was well-received and subsequently went off on tour. I managed to catch it at the New Wimbledon Theatre. The show has only one librettist and composer – the legendary Cole Porter – though this version includes several songs not originally composed for Anything Goes. However, the book has had the involvement of six different writers, including P.G. Wodehouse and John Weidman. This revival is directed by the theatre’s artistic director, Daniel Evans.
This gloriously camp, feelgood show, about a stockbroker who sneaks onto a ship disguised as a dangerous gangster in order to win the girl of his dreams, is beautifully designed by Richard Kent with a Thirties Deco backdrop. It is packed with Porter’s hits – from “I Get a Kick Out of You” to “You’re the Top”, “It’s De-Lovely” and the title track itself, a stonking Act 1 closer.
As stunning Reno Sweeney, Debbie Kurup is clearly the star of the show – she has by far the biggest singing role and carries it off with aplomb. I also loved Stephen Matthews, whose turn as an eccentric English aristocrat is amusing and whose big number “The Gypsy In Me” is a showstopper. Matt Rawle as Billy Crocker and Zoe Rainey as Hope Harcourt perform well as the central couple of the piece, while Hugh Sachs entertains as a likeable crook.
The supporting cast, a talented ensemble of sailors, sunbathing ladies and eccentric tourists, are marvellous, making the most of Alistair David’s clever choreography. I loved this wonderfully fresh and rousing revival.