Friday, 23 August 2019

REVIEW: National Youth Music Theatre's Anything Goes at the Other Palace

National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT) have hit London with their revival of the 1934 musical Anything Goes. Set onboard the S.S American during a voyage from New York to London, this musical ticks all the boxes for great songs, dances, love stories and drama. The performers range in age from 12 (shout out to a brilliant performance from Milo Hallett as Elisha J. Whitney) to 21. Each cast member performed with the utmost professionalism and created an impressive show.

Alex Sutton’s direction drew the strong personalities out of the characters and led them to perfect comedic timing. A little overly-slapstick at times, the overall performance was slick and boasted the abilities of the cast as natural entertainers. Cole Porter’s music and lyrics were brought to life by leading lady, Reno Sweeney (Olivia Hallett) and her killer vocals. Her rendition of Blow, Gabriel, Blow in Act 2 gave me hope I would be seeing her in the West End one day.

All of the lead performers were superb. Ladies-man and stockbroker, Billy Crocker (Toby Turpin) had an effortless approach to this lusting young man. Thoroughly engaged throughout his performance, I could not peel my eyes from his elegant duets with Hope Harcourt (Lulu-Mae Pears). Co-choreographers Lee Proud and Adam Haigh transport you back in time to the Golden Age of musicals. Regardless of the large cast, they make excellent use of the limited space. NYMT’s Anything Goes is a phenomenally hilarious production, thanks to the ship’s stowaways; Erma (Sarah Dare) and Moonface Martin (Miguel Rivilla). Daniel Gray’s Lord Evelyn Oakleigh shone bright in his performance of The Gypsy in Me. This man is born for the role of Ogie in Waitress. The ensemble is tight and energetic in their supporting roles. I was particularly impressed by the New York accents that did not falter throughout the production. Unfortunately, the acting scenes towards the end of the show were unpolished and came across as shrill and chaotic- more of an improvised section. 

Jordan Li-Smith’s musical direction of the fantastic onstage performers kept them a prominent and integrated part of the musical. The set design came across quite modern in comparison to the 30’s show. Despite this, the costumes were magnificent and are reminiscent of the old-school Hollywood era. 

Anything Goes is a thoroughly enjoyable, easy-watching show. It is exciting to see the potential of these young performers released. They have big futures ahead and I am proud that I was able to see it here first. A truly De-Lovely performance. 

Review by Hannah Storey

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: F18 | Price of Ticket: £35
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