After earning almost unanimous praise and four and five-star reviews, Anything Goes is packing them in at the Crucible Theatre for another week.
Many of the critics played on the words of the Cole Porter songs. “De-lovely and then some. It’s de-business,” declared the Mail on Sunday.
“It’s delightful, it’s de-lovely and it’s de-definitely worth booking a ticket,” trilled The Guardian – and there are still tickets available before the show ends its run in Sheffield on January 17 and embarks on a national tour through to October.
It has meant most of the cast have signed up to spend nearly a year with the show.
“For me it was the opportunity to create a production in this space with these facilities whereas a lot of commercial productions have come from America with an American team,” said Matt Rawle who plays leading man Billy Crocker. “This is a team with a fresh take, to take the Sheffield aesthetic and all that means and take it to a wider audience.”
“I think Anything Goes operates on a social level and it has been cast in a non-traditional way and it’s bit like Tiswas, with that anarchic freefall about it.”
When Billy Crocker discovers that his heart’s desire, debutante heiress Hope Harcourt, is engaged to an English aristocrat, he stows away aboard transatlantic liner the SS American to win her back and mingles with the string of eccentric passengers on board.
Billy is similar to a couple of roles he has played recently. “It’s part of a musical device like Cliff in Cabaret or Che in Evita, you follow him through the story,” he explains.
“Billy is a guy from the wrong side of the tracks, from Brooklyn, and he’s found himself this job in stockbroking at a very low level and worked his way through the ranks and he’s obviously ‘street smart’ as opposed to ‘smart smart’ and he’s very likeable.
“He gets all those great numbers , You’re the Tops, Easy to Love, All Through the Night, those great American standards.”
There is a strong element of comedy too. “I had a good idea about how it should play out. A lot of those sort of comedies like Some Like It Hot, the dialogue is such you just need to say it at an appropriate pace and the rhythm of the line will inform whether there is a laugh or not. It needs to be fast-paced because ultimately it is a farce and each act ends at a climax.
“Although it’s looking back to those classic films, a couple of my inspirations were modern. Paul Rudd would have been my modern port of call and those Judd Apatow comedies which are similar and show it needs to feel fresh.”
Rawle came to Anything Goes after a rare foray into TV with a stint on Doctors – presumably with no singing and dancing. “You say that but I was playing the air guitar champion of the West Midlands so I wasn’t singing but I was showing some shapes. It’s nice to keep a varied palette and to dig out the accent I was born with – in fact the one and only time I’ve used it.”