Words by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows and Music by Frank Loesser
Nuffield Theatre,
June 2004
Director: Phil Cheesman
Cast List
Nicely-Nicely Johnson
Benny Southstreet
Angie the Ox
Sarah Brown
Arvide Abernathy
Harry the Horse
Lt. Brannigan
Nathan Detroit
Miss Adelaide
Sky Masterson
General Cartwright
Big Jule
Joey Biltmore (voice)
Long Tall Sally
Filthy O’Grady
Red Johnny Rogers
Fingers McGinty
Peaches Cavendish
Lou-Anne van Looes
Rosalita Cortez
Maisie Blossom
‘Crazy’ Mike Crezowski
Sergeant O’Hanrahanrahan
Brandy Bottle Bates
Rusty Charlie
Scranton Slim
Legs Mahoney
Society Max
Last Card Leslie
The Lemon Drop Kid
The Greek
Liver Lips Louie
Dave the Dude
Lola (Hot Box Dancer)
Fifi (Hot Box Dancer)
Mimi (Hot Box Dancer)
Gigi (Hot Box Dancer)
Daisy (Hot Box Dancer)
Poppy (Hot Box Dancer)
Georgette (Hot Box Dancer)
Claudette (Hot Box Dancer)
Margaret (Hot Box Dancer)

Notes on this performance

101. Guys and Dolls                             

Chorus members preferred…

Phil Cheesman was invited to direct Guys and Dolls and soon had the Committee wondering whether it was a wise move. Firstly, he was reluctant to release the principal audition pieces as he did not want to see any polished performances, preferring instead something that he might be able to shape during the course of the production. Secondly, he was keen to involve more of the regular chorus members in main parts and he even wanted the band to be on the stage - high up at the back!

Although having the orchestra at the rear of the stage was very problematical in Kiss Me Kate, MD Paul Spanton, was happy to carry on as planned, reasoning that monitors could be set up around the auditorium and singers would still be able to see him. The auditions did indeed bring about a few surprises, with several habitual chorus members suddenly finding themselves in the lime-light including; Francesca Still (Sarah Brown), Mik Shaw (Arvide), Suzie Pavitt (Agatha), Terry O’Farrell (Lt Branigan), Jason Brown (Sky) and Clare Minns (General Cartwright) who all joined the established David Tatnall (Nicely-Nicely Johnson) and Shaun Dodimead (Benny).

Phil was a talented dancer and was perfect for arranging the big show numbers, in fact it is unlikely that the men have ever danced so well in an SOS show before or since. However, apart from the Hot Box Dancers, the ladies had little movement to do, since most of the action revolved around the hoods ‘shooting craps’. One notable exception to this was David’s Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat number in the Mission.

Phil certainly put a lot of thought into planning the production. Time was spent on perfecting the correct Bronx accents, members of the company were positioned in exactly the right place to make any scenery or set changes quickly and a whole street scene was plotted to help develop the characters whilst the overture played. The unusual position of the band was not the problem that was envisaged.

The Echo reported: ‘The large cast has mixed fortunes with the busy set pieces but the successful ones are well choreographed, The men’s chorus is particularly dynamic in the underground gambling scene in “Luck Be a Lady Tonight”. Newcomers Francesca Still (Sarah) and Jason Brown (Sky) find the right chemistry to carry off their roles. The other leading pair, Marie Creed-Helliwell  (Miss Adelaide) and Peter Barber (Nathan) also complement each other well. “A Bushel and a Peck” number is a joy to behold with a particularly fine performance by the chicken (Alison Vincent).

Look for the changing headlines on the news-stand to keep you abreast of the plot! With tuneful music, effective lighting and scenery that allowed swift scene changes and the production to flow, this production deserves your support.’

Unfortunately, ticket sales were slow from the beginning and, although they picked up as show week approached, they were still £2200 down on the initial budget figure, so an overall loss of £494 could have been a lot worse. 

Terry O'Farrell

Photo of Mission

L-R: Jo Cheesman (Filthy O'Reilly), Nichola McKinley, Suzie Pavitt (Agatha), Amanda Burnett (Long Tall Sally), Francesca Still (Sarah Brown), Anne Waggott, Mik Shaw (Arvide Abernathy), Gillian Parry

Photo of Nathan

Peter Barber (Nathan Detroit) in the Mission

Photo of Marie

Marie Creed-Helliwell (Miss Adelaide) with Francesca Still (Sarah Brown) and Jason Brown (Sky Masterton)

Photo of Hoods

Shaun Dodimead (Benny Southstreet), Peter Barber (Nathan Detroit), Marie Creed-Helliwell (Miss Adelaide), Terry O'Farrell (Lt Brannigan)

Photo of Sit Down

David Tatnall (Nicely-Nicely Johnson) sings Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat

Photo of End

Centre: Jason Brown (Sky Masterton), Francesca Still (Sarah Brown), Marie Creed-Helliwell (Miss Adelaide), Peter Barber (Nathan Detroit)

Right: Clare Minns (General Cartwright), Mik Shaw (Arvide Abernathy), Shaun Dodimead (Benny Southstreet), David Tatnall (Nicely-Nicely Johnson)