PREVIEW: ‘Guys and Dolls’ – The Island Savoyards

The Island Savoyards have been busy in 2022 as they mark their 50th anniversary as one of the Isle of Wight’s leading amateur theatre societies. Earlier this year, the company brought Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame to Shanklin Theatre. This gothic and powerful retelling of Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel was a huge show for Savoyards to take on, but it allowed them the opportunity to really show off just how talented their membership, musicians and creatives are.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame was swiftly followed by a glorious 50th anniversary gala evening in June.   This was a joyous concert which gave The Island Savoyards the stage to perform some of their favourite numbers from the society’s first 50 years of productions. The Shanklin Theatre audience was treated to classical Gilbert and Sullivan pieces through to musical theatre songs which showcased just how diverse the Savs’  repertoire is.

The Savoyards are staging one further production in 2022 and are excited to be bringing the Broadway classic Guys and Dolls back to the Island. It’s a show that is widely regarded as one of the best musical comedies ever. Audiences will be transported to the streets of Manhatten and the bars of Havana, with hit songs such as “Luck Be a Lady”, “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat” and “The Oldest established” in this unlikeliest of love stories. A film adaptation of the musical was released in 1955 starring Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons and Vivian Blaine.

Guys and Dolls, based on The Idyll of Sarah Brown by Damon Runyon, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling, tells the story of gambler Nathan Detroit who tries to find the cash to set up the biggest craps game in town while the authorities breathe down his neck.  Meanwhile, his girlfriend and nightclub performer, Adelaide, laments that they’ve been engaged for fourteen years. Nathan turns to fellow gambler, Sky Masterson, for the dough, and Sky ends up chasing the straight-laced missionary, Sarah Brown, as a result.  It’s a whirlwind of a musical that eventually sees everyone end up right where they belong.

The Island Savoyards are always blessed with strong performers in their casts. This show is no exception, with the company welcoming new and returning members in principal roles.

Daniel Farmer steps into Frank Sinatra’s shoes as Nathan Detroit. This is Daniel’s third consecutive show with Savs; having played Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors (2021) and Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (2022).

Bertie Everson is welcomed back to the company as the smooth talking Sky Masterson. Savoyard’s audiences will remember Bertie as The Beast in Beauty and the Beast which was the society’s first musical theatre production in 2011. He also gave memorable performances as Harold Bride in Titanic (2012) and Sir Galahad in Spamalot (2016).

Harley Mackness takes on the role of Adelaide, Nathan’s long-term fiancée and lead performer at the Hot Box nightclub. Harley has been performing with the Savoyards for many years, with notable roles such as Eva Peron in Evita (2015), The Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (2018) and Rita in Made in Dagenham (2018).

Holly Gardiner returns to the company for Guys and Dolls as the moralistic Christian mission leader, Sarah Brown in her first role with Savoyards since playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (2016). Holly is an extremely gifted actress and vocalist who was able to showcase her talents as Pitti-Sing in the society’s 2016 production of The Mikado.

This production of Guys and Dolls relies on the creative talents of Peter Reed in his directorial debut for the company; with musical director Andrew Woodford leading the live orchestra and Rosie Sales keeping step as choreographer. The show also welcomes on stage a large supporting and ensemble cast, with professional costume and set design.

So don’t leave it to Lady Luck, get your tickets for Guys and Dolls directly from Shanklin Theatre by calling 01983 868000, online at www.shanklintheatre.com or by visiting the box office.

Performance are on Thursday 27th October, Friday 28th October and Saturday 29th October at 7.30pm with a 2.30pm matinee show on Sunday 30th October.

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