Guys and Dolls: Prince of Wales.
THE National Theatre's production of Guys and Dolls has now been transferred to the Prince of Wales 'theatre in the London West End. Certain American musicals have gained almost a classical status; Guys and Dolls belongs to this category and I presume because of it, qualifies for production by the National Theatre.
The music by Frank Loesser, is of course good, but the tunes, with the exception of I have Never Been In Love Before, are less memorable than many from his other musicals.
The production of American musicals, when they are good, is often one of the most significant aspects of the show. This staging is magnificent.
The great underground gambling scene reminded me of Fritz Lang's spectacular silent film Metropolis to which an exciting sound track had been added. Lulu, as Miss Adelaide, is the star of the show, deservedly so, and it was not a bad idea to have Clarke Peters, who is black, play the romantic lead; a member of the Salvation Army today is just as likely to bestow her interest on a black man. JK THE ambitious new management at the Ambassadors Theatre, which has lived for so long in the shadow of the St Martins, home of The Mousetrap ("now in its 33rd sensational year"), have come up with a lively and colourful abridged version of The Marriage of Figaro.
Mozart and Beaumarchais are there somewhere, just, as are 1960s costumes, eastern settings, actors trying to sing, singers trying to act . By stripping the story of Figaro, the ambitious page and his lovely bride to he Susanna, to bare essentials, I fear that director Nick Broadhurst and musical arranger Tony Britten have gone too far. Admittedly the result is highly entertaining and never dull, but one too many corners are cut, leaving us, for example, with no explanation as to why Cherubino is played by Janet Dibley in drag.
Figaro is a likeable hybrid nonetheless, something of a Gilbert and Sullivan with the pomposity taken away, or Amadeus, minus the mid-west accents. For all that I was quite satisfied, until I stepped outside the theatre.