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August 13, 2013 > Theatre Review: Anything Goes: an unforgettable voyage

Theatre Review: Anything Goes: an unforgettable voyage

By Julie Grabowski
Photos By Ron Tripp

It's all aboard the S.S. American; Billy Crocker is seeing off his New York businessman boss Whitney and nightclub singer and evangelist pal Reno Sweeney with her band of angels. Amid the goodbyes, Billy discovers his lost love Hope Harcourt on board, sailing to England to marry British gentleman Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. He hasn't forgotten the 12 hours they once spent together and stows away, determined to win her back. With the help of Reno, Public Enemy #13 Moonface Martin, disguises, blackmail, and an unexpected flame, Billy stirs up a wild romp of a voyage that turns everyone's futures upside down.

"Anything Goes" is classic musical theatre at its most delightful with fun and engaging characters, easy comedy, and of course the beloved Cole Porter standards "You're the Top," "I Get a Kick Out of You," and "Anything Goes." Curtain Call Performing Arts presents a harmonious and talented cast that sells the show from the tips of their fingers to the toes of their dancing shoes.

Scott Alexander Ayers is the top in this production; his Moonface Martin is scene-stealing perfection that guarantees grins and laughter throughout. Celia Jones isn't far behind, delivering a powerful presence and voice as Reno that anchors the show and makes you a fan right from the start. Hanna Schultheis-Gerry packs a great comedic punch as Martin's side-kick Bonnie. While her musical numbers lacked the volume needed to make full impact, Schultheis-Gerry wears the Jersey accent and flirty, assured carriage of Bonnie like a glove.

Ivan Hardin is smooth and winning as the charming and playful Billy, and is at his comic best when working in the guises of an old woman, a Frenchman, and Chinaman. He has a compatible and complimentary match in Ally Reardon as Hope, who rolls with the jokes and shows off her solid vocals in "It's De-Lovely" and "All Through the Night." Reardon also clearly knows what she's about in the dance department.

Greg Lynch is spot on as the proper Evelyn. Although Hope laments her older finance's lack of fervor, Lynch's Evelyn is endlessly endearing, and his struggle with and collection of American expressions is priceless. He gets up to a great romp with Jones in the fun and flirty "Let's Misbehave." The show-stopping moment of the night comes at the end of Act I with a tremendous full-cast tap number set to "Anything Goes."

Presented in the California Conservatory Theatre, the intimate, 67-seat venue creates an enveloping experience that makes you feel like you're sitting in a deck chair on board witnessing all the excitement. If you're in the market for a fun and refreshing voyage of sheer entertainment, be sure to get your boarding pass for Curtain Call's "Anything Goes."

Anything Goes
Friday, Aug 9 - Sunday, Aug 25
8 p.m. (2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday matinees)
California Conservatory Theatre
999 East 14th St., San Leandro
(510) 909-9516
http://www.curtaincallperformingarts.org
Tickets: $25 adults, $22 students/seniors

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