Anything Goes: new production, same old charm

Musical fans have a tough decision to make when they’re attending the Fringe – see a new show that could be a hit tomorrow, or see an old favourite in a new setting? For the latter, you can’t get much better than Cole Porter’s masterpiece from the golden age of Broadway, Anything Goes. For those of us who looked over the pond with envious eyes at the recent Broadway revival of said masterpiece, a fantastic staging by KD Theatre Productions is taking place at the Fringe this year.

From the production company’s unusual beginnings – it was founded by two 12-year-olds – KD has matured into a powerhouse of quality theatre. Considering the usual limitations placed on sets by the size and functionality of most Fringe venues, fans of the show will be delighted when they walk into the Augustine United Church and are greeted by the sight of the show’s famous ocean-liner set and a splendid seven-piece orchestra.

The show is your typical romantic farce from the old school of musical comedy, which happens to feature sailors, stockbrokers and gangsters aboard an ocean liner to England. The show is further set apart from its ilk by Cole Porter’s endlessly witty, magnificently top-tapping score.

The cast is led by the superb Rachel Rawlinson, dazzling the crowd as Reno Sweeney, the nightclub-singer-cum-evangelist who gets all of Porter’s best songs. She serenades the audience with ‘I Get A Kick Out of You’ one moment, playing up ‘Blow, Gabriel Blow’ the next. What’s more, Rawlinson leads the cast in some of the best tap numbers you’ll see at the Fringe this year.

The production’s biggest strength is how genuinely funny it was. I was laughing heartily at the show’s libretto. Kudos goes to the talented ensemble – every minor character was a success, every nuance had the audience in hysterics.

If you don’t get a kick out of champagne, try this fantastic production of Anything Goes – it’s the top.

Christian Butler is a writer and musician based in London.

Anything Goes is at Paradise in Augustines until 17 August.

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