Guys and Dolls, directed by Marianne Elliott, is an American musical that is based on stories by Damon Runyon. The show features a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser. The setting is a colorful, seedy backdrop of Times Square, with gangsters and gamblers, showgirls and mission workers, and love stories that weave throughout.
The Bridge Theater’s production of Guy and Dolls is a sweeping, spectacular masterpiece. It captures the essence of the original, infusing it with fresh energy, bold melodies, and captivating characters. Elliott’s interpretation of the musical is electric, with stunning choreography, stunning set design, and an exceptional cast.
The show introduces us to Nathan Detroit (played by David Haig), a gambler who runs an illegal craps game but needs $1,000 to keep it afloat. He makes a bet with Sky Masterson (played by Oliver Tompsett), an infamous gambler, that he cannot take a woman he chooses to Havana, Cuba, for dinner. Sky picks Sarah Brown (played by Siubhan Harrison), an uptight Mission doll who is dedicated to saving souls. As the two fall in love, they end up teaching each other about the world they live in and ultimately go on an emotional journey of self-discovery.
The music of Guys and Dolls is legendary, and this production does not disappoint. Loesser’s score is alive and well in the hands of musical director Gareth Valentine, who flawlessly executes the iconic tunes like “Luck be a Lady”, “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” and “The Oldest Established (Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York).” The orchestra gives strong support to the actors, adjusting its sound to match the mood of each individual number.
The sensational choreography by Carlos Acosta and Andrew Wright is a highlight of the production. From the show-stopping opener “Fugue for Tinhorns” to the charming and charismatic “Marry the Man Today,” there is never a dull moment on stage. The dancing is precise and energetic, with each performer commanding the stage with their movements.
The design of the production is truly extraordinary. Set designer Peter McKintosh has created an immersive, vibrant world that perfectly captures the essence of Times Square. With a rotating, multi-level stage and vividly colored projections, the audience is transported to the city streets, the seedy bars, the mission halls, and everything in between. Costume designer Gabriella Slade has nailed the 1950s aesthetic, with period-specific designs that flatter the cast and add to the atmosphere of the piece.
The cast is nothing short of spectacular. David Haig is sensational as Nathan Detroit, infusing the character with a lovable charm and wit. His comic timing is impeccable, and he has great chemistry with all his co-stars. Oliver Tompsett is equally impressive as Sky Masterson, exuding a powerful sex appeal and fantastic vocals. Siubhan Harrison as Sarah Brown steals the show with her angelic voice and soulful portrayal of a conflicted character.
Sophie Thompson as Adelaide, Nathan’s long-suffering girlfriend, is delightful in her portrayal of a woman longing for marriage and love. She brings a vulnerability and warmth to the character, making the audience root for her happiness. Matthew Seadon-Young as Nicely-Nicely Johnson is a standout performer, leading the show-stopping “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat” with his infectious energy and charisma.
In conclusion, Guys and Dolls at the Bridge Theatre is a skillfully crafted production that beautifully captures the essence of the original while adding innovative and fresh elements. With a phenomenal cast, breathtaking design, and unforgettable choreography, this production is a must-see for anyone who loves great musical theater. It truly transports the audience to another world, filled with romance, humor, and music that will leave you humming the tunes for days to come.