June 19 performance reviewed by Ed McDonnell
It is a challenge to find standouts in Barrington Stage Company’s production of Guys and Dolls because each feature of it is outstanding: costumes, from the opening number and throughout; other visuals (effects, including sets, performances, dancing, and on and on.) All of this and more. A singular image to take home might be the lovely face of Sister Sarah, played by Morgan James who, in a soup kitchen mission, has dedicated her life to love of the charitable kind, falling suddenly in love. Then after finding out her beautiful man has a self-centered side, she discovers he has sacrificed a lot to defend her.
Another element to be cited is the caliber of the ensemble work; never have cast members contributed more generously in scenes centered primarily on one or two colleagues. Stunning moments are hard to isolate. At curtain rise, the costumes enhance the churning display of Damon Runyon’s unique palette, wherein the minute details and mannerisms, and the dizzying whole, pour over and through the senses. The comedy and storytelling get even better as the show goes on. Everything good is here, and a lot of it: character development, the performers’ great range, powerful music, gangsterisms and wit, romance, dancing.
On a personal note, my Father’s Day viewing of Guys and Dolls was additionally memorable as I was accompanied by my young son. At 16, his theater experience is limited and his developing tastes are utterly his own. I needn’t have worried: Guys and Dolls was a hit with him, too.
Congratulations to director John Rando and to everyone involved at Barrington Stage Company. See this knockout show as soon as you can.
- Guys and Dolls – A Musical Fable of Broadway
- Based on a Story and Characters by Damon Runyan
- Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser
- Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows
- Directed by John Rando
- Musical Direction by Darren Cohen
- Choreography by Joshua Bergasse
- Barrington Stage Company 2011 schedule