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St. Mark UMC Fine Arts Drama Ministry1
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REVIEWS

Anything Goes!, by Cole Porter
Saint Mark Steps Out with Anything Goes!
Monday, November 19, 2007
4.5
I am happy to offer a 4.5 to this production after attending the Friday, November 16th performance. Overall, the production was well-directed and rightly appreciated by the sold-out crowd, the only minor hiccups being an orchestra that would occasionally speed up or overpower the actors with its volume and problems with microphones that, while not pervasive, should be addressed before future shows.

I’ll begin with costumes. The costumes for this show were exaggerated and colorful, but remained relatively period and character-specific. The conservative attire of Hope, Mrs. Harcourt and Sir Evelyn, for example, served as a staunch contrast to Reno and her Angels who showed enough skin and cleavage to warrant a PG-13 rating. I was surprised by the number of costume changes and impressed by the array of colors, designs and textures.

The choreography of the show was wonderful. Admittedly, the cast had varying degrees of dancing skills, but the fervor with which the songs were approached was inspiring, and the choreographer did not sacrifice complexity for absolute synchronization, which was bold and ultimately paid off…all of the cast was quite good in the larger ensemble pieces, and the better dancers were utilized well. Stand-out performances included “Heaven Hop,” “Anything Goes,” and “Take Me Back to Manhattan.”

I thought the show was well cast with a diversity of performers in roles that purists might find a bit uncomfortable. Russ Rhodes was convincing as Billy, and Erica Clausen had enough “naughty with her nice” to make Hope interesting. Paul Holland and Michelle Jones had an undeniable chemistry as Sir Evelyn and Reno Sweeney, culminating in “Let’s Misbehave,” which was an audience favorite. Mary Keathe Lee was FANTASTIC as Mrs. Harcourt; her mannerisms and a surprise moment in “Heaven Hop” left the audience roaring with laughter. The Angels were wonderful too and not in the monotypic way that many have come to expect from “Anything Goes.” Sure, there were differing degrees of dancing skills amongst them, but their wonderfully hued and coiffed wigs - coupled with bright and often revealing costumes - ensured that one’s eyes did not wander far from them when on stage, and a couple of them (Lauren Gay as Charity and Rebecca Wood as Purity) returned the favor by flirting with the audience.

Overall, I think that this was a solid effort by the Saint Mark Fine Arts Department. There’s something to be said for big productions in small spaces – Saint Mark’s “Anything Goes” was ambitious, unexpected and over-the-top, and I like my “Anything Goes” that way.

Great job.

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