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Guys And Dolls - Review

Wednesday 17 August 2005

Guys And Dolls - What the critics have said
"...Director Michael Grandage has gone for atmosphere more than spectacle, so you really could be in the Manhattan sewer where Nathan''s game finally takes place. The big question is whether Ewan McGregor, the Hollywood star who has come home to play Sky, is up to his first big stage musical, and the answer is yes and no. With his slicked-back hair he is convincing as the charmer who can make Sarah drop her tambourine. But his likeable singing voice never quite hits the back of the theatre. The star really worth queuing for is Jane Krakowski, best known as the show-off secretary in Ally McBeal, as Adelaide. In one number she plays a milkmaid, but actually she milks every scene with wicked, sensual delight. Douglas Hodge is an entertainingly shabby Nathan with a surprisingly fine voice, and Jenna Russell, of TV''s Born and Bred, makes a good job of her thanklessly dowdy role as Sarah..." The Daily Express

"...The librettists, Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, interweave two stories with uncommon skill... But Grandage also never lets you forget that this is a very funny show in which every line tells a story... By paying so much attention to the book, Grandage also sheds new light on the characters. In most versions of Guys and Dolls, Nathan is played as a sharp-witted hustler... In Hodge''s hands he becomes, endearingly, a born loser, easily outwitted by the Chicago shark, Big Jule. And this same investigative approach highlights the Sky-Sarah relationship. As played by Ewan McGregor, Sky is dapper and cool, but deep down a decent, religious guy who knows his Proverbs from his Isaiah. Meanwhile Jenna Russell''s Sarah is outwardly a strong-jawed missionary, but a bit of a raver when she cuts loose. Each, in short, has something of the other''s qualities... But it is the comedy that comes off best in this exhilarating revival..." The Guardian

"...A visit to the Piccadilly will bring you terrific music, great fun, one or two excellent dance numbers and, at the head of a consistently decent cast, no less charismatic a figure than Ewan McGregor... What surprised me was his ability not just to talk his songs, but to sing them, and sing them smoothly and tunefully. What surprised me a lot less was his laid-back urbanity and, when he''s shooting craps, his equally effortless sense of command. Give this Sky a dramatic climax and he''ll gleam, like his namesake in high summer..." The Times

"...Hard on the heels of Billy Elliot and The Big Life, we have Michael Grandage''s utterly elating revival of Guys and Dolls. This gifted director has hitherto relished staging pieces that are seen as flawed and making them work triumphantly... But with this co-production... Grandage shows that his touch is just as sure with proven material and that the methods that have paid dividends for him in the small space of the Donmar (casting for character more than for voice, uncluttered design in the service of drama rather than decoration etc) continue to work on a larger canvas... It''s an evening rich in show-stoppers... This production looks to be a sure-fire winner." The Independent

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