Guys and Dolls Review

One of Derby’s finest youth groups triumphs with another exceptional production.

New York, the roaring 1920s. Small-time gambler Nathan Detroit has gone broke losing his illegal crap shoot venues through New York’s finest putting him out of business. While securing a venue for his latest, Nathan finds himself $1000 short. To get the money, he makes a bet with high-rolling rival Sky Masterson: if Sky can convince a lady of Nathan’s choosing to go to Havana with him that night, Nathan owes him $1000; if not, Sky pays up. Sky agrees.

Nathan chooses Sarah, a pious missionary working at a local mission hall. The bet is set, and the story unfolds; Sky and Sarah struggle valiantly with their feelings, Nathan tries and fails to avoid marrying his showgirl fiancée Adelaide, and the cops are never far behind.

Derby Youth Musical Theatre are fearless and enthusiastic, and this is another assured production of a beloved classic. Accents are broad and whip-smart, dance sequences dazzling and spectacular. Sharp suits and beautiful dresses are the dress code, and both Bushel And A Peck and Take Back Your Mink are showstoppers that stunned an appreciative audience. All of the characters are well defined and warmly presented, but the leads are again astonishing: Sam Fretwell impresses as fixer Nicely-Nicely, but Mia Mitchell’s assured, complex Sarah is well observed. Gage Taylor’s Sky is charismatic, all swagger and suavity, while Curtis Taylor-Tipton demonstrates a deft comedic talent in Nathan’s panicked desperation. But Emily
Redlaff’s Adelaide was the undisputed comedic highlight for me, a barnstorming performance combining amazing singing vocals with funny, dizzying outbursts, vulnerability and warmth. All four main leads share an engaging chemistry, effortlessly believable as friends, rivals and partners, fronting another accomplished show from one of Derby’s most exciting musical groups.

Funny, dazzling, uplifting - magnificent.

Kevin Redfern

Published September 25th 2016.