Guys and Dolls - performed January 1990

By Frank Loesser

Performed with the kind permission of Music Theatre International

Director - Dennis Murfitt


(in order of appearance)

Nicely-Nicely Johnson Adrian Bolton
Benny Southstreet Chris Mason
Rusty Charlie Bob Wheatley
Sarah Brown Julia Byford-Smith
Arvide Abernathy Bert Yeates
Mission Band Jane Cousins
Gill Baxter
Harry the Horse Chris Mead
Lt Brannigan Dennis Murfitt
Nathan Detroit Simon Colbourne
Angie the Ox Terry Cousins
Miss Adelaide Jill Laurie
Sky Masterson Bernie Brindley
Mimi Linda Brindley
General Cartwright Val Williams
Society Max Bill Embley
Big Jule Nigel Lister
Waitress Jenine Weatherill
Waiter Paul Gardiner
Dancers & Chorus Dawn White
Heather Steel
Allison Hawkins
Lesley Mercer
Hilary Robinson
Dave Sexton
Brenda Chapman
Marion Harvey
Alison Brett

Production Team

Jude Hussey, Jenny Rollings, Bruce Emeny, Maurice Barber, Peggy Barber, Dennis Murfitt, Greg Garrad, Alison Brett, Lisa Lucus, Jenny Glayzer, Judy Butler, Val Taylor, Chris Wheeler, Marion Harvey, Patience Ling, Viv Wheatley, and other volunteers not mentioned.

The Musical

Desperate to find money to pay for his floating crap game, Nathan Detroit bets Sky Masterson a thousand dollars that Sky will not be able to take a local Salvation Army girl, Sarah Brown, to Cuba. While Sky eventually is able to convince Sarah to join him, Nathan battles with his fiancé of fourteen years, Adelaide. Meanwhile in Cuba, Sky ends up falling in love with Sarah and tries to reform his gambling ways. When he returns back to New York, he bets all the members of the floating crap game that if he wins his roll of the dice, they will all have to go to church and repent. If he loses, he will give them each a thousand dollars. He ends up winning and all the gamblers end up visiting the mission and repenting their sins.


Even to contemplate presenting this brash, sprawling musical on one of the most miniscule stages in the area would seem to most societies to be wishful thinking.
To carry it off successfully by dint of sheer ingenuity and inch-perfect planning is a tribute to the adventurous ambition of its enterprising director and cast, and to the high level of technical expertise available. Bruce Emeny’s lighting design is not merely efficient, but creative and imaginative in it own right. The 3-D effect of the Broadway skyline stretching out in perspective to seeming infinity is quite magical, and with equally proficient accompaniment from Patience Ling at the piano and Greg Garrad on percussion, the back-up element is in the surest of capable hands.

A trifle leisurely to begin with – which is in the nature of the actions as much as any tardiness on the part of the company – the presentation lifts perceptibly the moment Bernie Brindley breezes in – tall, handsome and whimsically elegant as Sky Masterson. Singing with complete relaxation in a coppery husky voice, every number is flawlessly phrased, every not caressed, every emotional nuance effortlessly touched in the finest local interpretation of the character is have been my pleasure to witness. Even the crap game takes on immediate drive and impetus on his arrival, and his playing with Julia Byford-Smith’s willowy, clear-as-a-bell Salvation’s Sarah is funny and touching by turns.
Simon Colbourn’s bulky Nathan Detroit has some good timing to point up his comic reactions, and Chris Mason’s bubbling Benny Southstreet and Adrian Bolton’s burly hard-drinking, mouth stuffing Nicely-Nicely Johnson are the pick of the minor characters by some distance. Jill Laurie gets her tongue round the intricacies of Aldelaide’s songs, but her ash-blonde “lady-in-waiting” is a shade lightweight in lung-power for the raucous stridency usually associated with the character.
Jimmy James

I had heard plenty of glowing reports about Manifest Theatre group productions and their latest offering, Guys and Dolls, certainly upheld their reputation.
It was my first visit to see the Manningtree-based group and I was not disappointed. This old musical favourite was performed with sparkle, energy and enthusiasm. The entire show was thoroughly entertaining and it was clear from the quality of the performances, the cast were enjoying playing to the responsive audience. There were times when I thought the musical numbers were literally going to raise the roof, especially the rousing choruses of Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat. Produced and directed by Dennis Murfitt, Guys and Dolls had elements of comedy, romance, and drama with the 28-strong cast all putting in a first-class effort.

Special mention must go to Julia Byford-Smith for her outstanding performance as Salvation Army girl, Sarah Brown. Her musical numbers were spot-on and the audience was pared any slightly off-key, top notes. And a professional, polished and extremely funny portrayal of gambler Nathan Detroit was given by Simon Colbourne. Jill Laurie also put in a very entertaining performance as Miss Adelaide, and Bernie Brindley made an excellent job of the part of Sky Masterson.
Colourful sets and costumes also added to the overall success of the show. I feel I must also mention the musicians, Patience Ling and Greg Garrad, who did a fine job with very few, if any, wrong notes being struck throughout the entire three-hour performance. Not wishing to take anything away from the excellent performances, I do think some of the parts could have been enhanced by being played by younger people.

Photo Shoot

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