Words by Cole Porter and Music by Cole Porter
Nuffield Theatre,
June 2007
Cast List
Reno Sweeney
Billy Crocker
Moonface Martin
Hope Harcourt
Lord Evelyn Oakleigh
Elisha Whitney
Evangeline Harcourt
Angels’ maid
Brother Luke
Brother John
Henry T Dobson
Mrs Purser

Notes on this performance

107. Anything Goes 

Kept in the dark…

Cole Porter’s Anything Goes was another new show for the Society and the Committee immediately called on Malcolm Clarke (and his knowledge of musicals) to direct it. Martin Paterson was willing to accept the challenge of being the MD. Eastleigh Juniors had also applied for the licence to perform the show and SOS was approached for its permission for this to happen. It was readily given but it was decided prudent for both groups to share the same set (constructed by Phil Moody and Adam Case) and halve the associated cost - also ensuring that any potential deficit caused by a rival production would be minimised.

Although rehearsals had been enjoyable and Malcolm had been very positive, there was some murmuring from the company about the lack of chorus involvement, which was significantly less than in most other musicals. Another gripe was the requirement for many to find their own costume and even to buy tap shoes as, in addition to this extra cost, the company was still expected to pay a production levy of £10. Anita Pritchard, the Choreographer, was also not too pleased that a Dance Captain had been appointed without any consultation with her – especially when she then proceeded to work with those already proficient in the routines rather than the many ‘strugglers’.

The beginning of Anything Goes takes place in a night club and it was not until the action was transferred to SS America that the stage was bathed in light, a situation that did not seem to meet with the approval of the Echo reviewer: ‘The show started in rather gloomy lighting making it difficult to see the principals’ faces. This was a common feature throughout the show where low lighting was used to create atmosphere but just achieved a dark stage. Although the company sang well under Martin Paterson’s musical direction and were beautifully costumed, this first night performance would have benefited from a little more energy. 

Competent performances from all, but worthy of mention are Marie Creed-Helliwell (Reno) for her confident characterisation and Sandra Pettyfer as Hope’s over-powering mother Evangeline.’  

Mark Allen (Captain) and Richard Peaty (Purser) welcomed aboard a variety of other dysfunctional characters, including Billy Crocker (Richard Jackson), Hope Harcourt (Vicky Wilson), Moonface Martin (David Tatnall), Erma (Nichola McKinley), Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Tony Austin) and Jonathan Fulcher (Elisha Whitney). 

Although good for a summer show, ticket sales were still too low and a publicity photo shoot took place in the docks with a cruise ship, Navigator of the Seas, as a backdrop. However, Radio Solent was not interested in publicising a ‘Search for Cheeky’ (the lap dog carried by Evangeline) whilst performing songs from the show in St James’ Park, Shirley as part of its anniversary celebrations drew only a small crowd of spectators due to being allocated an early slot. Unfortunately, these efforts had minimal impact on the box office and Anything Goes made a loss of £2121.

Terry O'Farrell

Photo of Crew

 Front: Richard Peaty (Purser) and Mark Allen (Captain) with sailors Les Pike, Adam Case and Mark Gibson 

 Photo of Sandra and Jonathan

Sandra Pettyfer (Evangeline Harcourt) with Jonathan Fulcher (Elisha Whitney)

Photo of Moonface Martin

David Tatnall (Moonface Martin) with Nichola McKinley (Erma)

Photo of Trio

Vicky Wilson (Hope Harcourt), Jonathan Fulcher (Elisha Whitney), Tony Austin (Lord Evelyn Oakleigh) 

Photo of Trio2

Richard Jackson (Billy Crocker), Tony Austin (Lord Evelyn Oakleigh), Vicky Wilson (Hope Harcourt) 

Photo of Reno

Marie Creed-Helliwell (Reno Sweeney) with Laura Lovell (Purity), Amanda Burnett (Virtue) and Jo Short (Chastity)