The grandeur and magnificence of the Royal Albert Hall proved to be the perfect backdrop of this concert performance of the gangsters and molls Broadway fable Guys and Dolls. With no set but with a superb orchestra led by musical director and conductor James McKeon, the exuberance and breathtaking electricity created by this show filled the Hall with a palpable energy that had the audience cheering and applauding loudly as the score, written by Frank Loesser from the book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, was performed intact.
Adrian Lester was superbly cast as Sky Masterson relishing the role and his rendition of the hit number from the show I’ve Never Been In Love Before, performed with Sarah Brown played by Lara Pulver, closing the first act with rapturous delight from the audience. Meow Meow who played the lovelorn Adelaide showed immaculate comic timing whilst delivering her numbers which showcased her range as a very accomplished artist. A very good Jason Manford as Nathan Detroit – playing the role made famous by Frank Sinatra in the 1955 movie – held his own with excellent vocals. However the scene stealing has to go to Clive Rowe as Nicely Nicely Johnson whose rendition of Sit Down, You’re Rocking The Boat brought the audience to their feet, and a well deserved refrain of the number got further cheers.
Stephen Mangan acted as the narrator fleshing out the storyline between numbers and adding to the magic of the characters created by Damon Runyon. With a tremendous ensemble cast behind the four leads and great attention given to the original choreography by Stephen Mears who also directed Guys and Dolls, Live in Concert this has to be one of the most important theatrical events of the year. A suave and sophisticated revival.