Concept Players’ Anything Goes: A Review

I was lucky enough to be invited to come and watch Concept Players’ production of Anything Goes at the Paget Rooms in Penarth. I didn’t know much about this show going in but I’d heard good things so I had high expectations…and I was not disappointed! 

The story follows Billy Crocker, portrayed by Shane Rose-Goodsir, a young New York businessman upon a transatlantic liner travelling from New York to England. Billy’s quest to win the hand of the woman he loves is met with a fair few challenges. From the beginning, audience was introduced to a raft of interesting characters, from gambling nuns to gangsters.

I was surprised by the shear talent of this cast. I didn’t know what to expect but I was blown away by the range of abilities of every cast member that stepped onto that stage. Each one holding an unwavering amount of professionalism. Every actor embraced their character whole-heartedly and the audience fell in love with them all. Shane Rose-Goodsir, took on the role of this iconic character and commanded the stage. Hayley Toms as Reno Sweeney was incredible. Aside from her beautiful voice, she truly took hold of the infamous character, capturing all of what makes Reno so loveable but also putting her own personal spin on it. And Cat Bailie, who portrays Erma and Paul Buckle, who portrays Moonface Martin, comedic chemistry on stage had the audience in stitches and quickly became audience favourites.

An incredible performance by Ellie Hoare as Hope Harcourt, Stephen Hopkins as Evelyn Oakleigh, Nick Pratt as Eli Whitney, Rebecca Rose as Evangeline Harcourt, Kevin Morgan as the Captain, Sarah Jones as Sister Mary Aloysious, Kate Smith as Sister Bernard and the rest of the cast and crew.

The technical visual of this show worked really well. The staging was simple, but allowed the characters to use the space and engaged with the audience. With minimal set stage pieces and an exposed band, you were pulled into the story from the beginning. And the lighting design was brilliant also, especially by using the lights around the audience to fully immerse them in numbers such as ‘Blow Gabriel Blow’, flooding the room in an intoxicating red glow.

The musical numbers in this show are fantastic! Classic musical stylings with a jazzy twist, with upbeat numbers such as, ‘You’re The Top’, ‘Friendship’, ‘You’re The Top’, ‘Blow Gabriel Blow’, ‘Buddie Beware’ and, of course, ‘Anything Goes’. And more soulful numbers that left goosebumps running up my arm, such as, ‘Goodbye, Little Dream, Goodbye’, ‘Easy To Love’ and ‘All Through The Night’. And each number was paired with an incredibly fun dance number, choregraphed by Adam Pitt. From big tap dancing chorus numbers to elegant waltz, each one had the audience wanting to dance along with them.

What I loved so much about this show was its humour-driven, up-beat liveliness. The audience was laughing from start to finish, and leaving with huge smiles on their faces. It’s was the perfect choice by Concept Players’ director Ruairidh Macleod Lyon as there “come-back” show. So if you’re looking for a fun-filled, toe-tapping, hilarious musical for the whole family then this is the one for you. Anything Goes will be in the Paget Rooms for just one more night before moving onto the Dolman Theatre from 30th March to 1st April, and tickets are selling out fast so get them while you can.