Guys & Dolls theatre review: A charming revival of a bona fide classic

Melissa York
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Rockin' the Boat

Savoy Theatre | ★★★★☆

The last play to grace the stage of The Savoy was Gypsy, where Imelda Staunton gave a rip-roaring, throat-shredding performance that’s likely to go down in theatre legend.

It was always going to be a tough act to follow, but with the Chichester Festival’s revival of Guys and Dolls, we’re safely cosseted in the hands of a classic.

The story revolves around two couples trying to navigate the sinful streets of 50s New York.

Nathan, played by David Haig, is fedora deep in the gambling scene and he’s trying to organise an illegal dice game.

When he finds out he has to stump up $1,000 for the venue, he hopes to win the money on a bet he can’t lose; gambling pal Sky has to convince pious missionary girl Sarah to go on a date with him in Cuba.

Haig’s perfected his moustachioed every-guy act but his scenes are frequently stolen by his long-suffering wife Adelaide, whose voice can veer from squeaky pin-up to growling menace several times a sentence.

Despite its backdrop of kitsch ads for Levis and Camel cigarettes, this heartfelt production carries its retro affectations lightly.

It’s riotously fun and injects just enough pizzaz to charm without the cheese.

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