Anything Goes - performed November 1996

By Cole Porter

Performed with the kind permission of Music Scope

Director - Dennis Murfit
Musical Director - Paience Ling


(in order of appearance)

Reno Sweeny Amanda McCarthy
Hope Harcourt Jo Simons
Evangeline Harcourt Thelma Rayment
Lord Evelyn Oakleigh Adrian Bolton
Elisha Whitney Martin Rayner
Billy Crocker Christopher Mason
Moonface Martin Mike Johansen
Erma Brenda Chapman
Luke Alan Crabb
John Darryl Streatfield
Ship's Captain Nigel Lister
Ship's Purser Derek Butcher
Angels Claire Twilly
Lisa Prothero
Vikki Webb
Heidi Bayley
Girl at Bar Viv White
Girl Sailors Liz Butler
Marion Gardiner
Rosamund Pettett
Jenine Weatherill
Vicky Wheatman
Men Sailors Graham Carey
Terry Cousins
Kevan Porter
Craig Ward
Bob Wheatley
Passengers Jane Cousins
Kate Daines
Hannah Harding
Henry T. Dobson Bill Chapman

Production Team

Dennis Murfitt, Jenny Rollings, Bruce Emeny, Maurice & Peggy Barber, Greg Garrad, Alan Laurie, Roger Davies, Sara Paynter, Val Taylor, Patience Ling, Paul Scott, Doug Chapman, Steve Sadler, Jane Cousins, Viv Wheatley, Alan Wheeler.

The Play

The S.S. American, sailing from New York to England, carries an unusual group of passengers. Included amongst them are a gangster (Moonface Martin), a wealthy debutante and her mother (Hope and Evangeline Harcourt), a nightclub singer (Reno Sweeny), and a wealthy New York businessman and his stowaway assistant (Elisha Witney and Billy Crocker). It turns out that Hope is Billy's long-lost love. Unfortunately, she is now engaged to a wealthy Englishman, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. After a series of comedic happenings, Billy manages to win back Hope. Meanwhile, Billy's friend, Reno, manages to seduce and win Lord Evelyn. All this happens while Moonface Martin attempts to escape the law and Hope's mother strives to maintain her social status.


Set on an ocean liner, the plot of Cole Porter's classic musical is as daft as it is charming.
When first written by Guy Bolton and none other than P.G.Wodehouse, the boat was to have sunk and the cast engaged in a bizarre and frivolous shipwreck.
But with an actual liner (the SS Morro Castle) sinking just weeks before the first performance, the producer dumped the original script and told director Howard Lindsey to hurriedly rewrite the entire plot.
The result is something close to a kind of maritime panto.
The Manifest Theatre Company rise to the spirit of this brilliantly.
Christopher Mason handles the role of Billy Crocker with ease and style, while Amanda McCarthy is excellent as Reno, bringing a refreshing and modern approach to the part made famous by Ethel Merman.
Adrian Bolton is, as ever, versatile and fresh - and very very funny playing Lord Evelyn Oakleigh.
Mike Johansen has also got a notable comic talent, managing to mix perfectly the right amounts of character and caricature required by the role of Moonface Martin, while Jo Simons is enchanting as Hope.
In the supporting chorus Craig Ward performs well, and with a good voice.
The sets are splendid, the costumes outstanding, and even if I do sometimes suspect that Cole Porter occasionally wrote his songs with one eye on a rhyming dictionary and the other on a fast buck, the music is terrific.
Indeed, if there's one observation I should make it's that this production is so good that it really called for more than a piano, drum, guitar accompaniment.
This is no criticism of the band, who played very well, but a considered use of music technology could have given the numbers a real lift.
But all in all, this was a well directed, well performed and thoroughly entertaining show.
R G Ashworth

Photo Shoot

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