I went to see such a brilliant performance of Guys and Dolls on Monday night, it’s kept me going all week. It was at the Savoy Theatre, which is tucked away at the side of, and I suppose underneath, the Savoy Hotel. It’s really easy to get to for me, just a stroll from Charing Cross Station. I had thought it was a rather beautiful art deco theatre but the lovely friend who took me pointed out some rather dodgy mural work as we went down the two flights of stairs to our seats. As usual, being in a West End theatre reminded me of all the other shows I’d seen in the same place. In this case, easily the best was Legally Blonde with Sheridan Smith. Who could forget her Bend and Snap? Click on it if you want to see the original routine from the film.
I’d never seen Guys and Dolls before, though I knew the song Luck Be a Lady Tonight was going to show up somewhere. It was non-stop New York action. The plot is based on a couple of Damon Runyon short stories, but the chief joy is in the cheekily mischievous tone, set right from the start. Yes, there is an illegal card game going on, yes there are gangsters involved, yes the girls at the Hot Box night club are no better than they should be, and yes there’s boozing on the streets, but it’s all so slick and so funny.
That’s not to say it doesn’t move you – the love song between Sky and Sarah was beautiful and the pathos of Adelaide’s situation pulls at the heartstrings. But all difficulties are resolved in the end in the finest musical manner, and anyone who doesn’t love this production should definitely ‘Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat’.