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Anything Goes (Oxford)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Often when reviewing youth productions, I find myself feeling the need to be kind to the young performers. This is not the case with MYCO’s production of Anything Goes – they are good enough to be judged alongside far more experienced singers and dancers. In many ways, this was one of the better amateur productions I have ever seen.

Guy Brigg (Director/Choreographer) and Julie Todd (MD) are to be heartily congratulated for having coached and trained their cast to such a high standard. The singing, acting and dancing are of a quality to rival any adult company – with no weak links amongst the principals or supporting roles.

Unlike some youth companies, MYCO performed the full version of the piece – which places considerable demands on the young principals. Vocally, the stars of the production are the brassy and bold Reno Sweeney of Kelly Hampson and the lyrical Billy Crocker of Henry Jenkinson. Hampson in particular delivers her iconic songs with a power and control far beyond her years. Both, I am sure, will be appearing on bigger and better stages in the coming years.

I have to admit that one of the cast does steal the show completely from the rest of the company – and he is to be applauded for doing so. Daniel Richards (Lord Evelyn) has a natural flair for comedy – both physical and verbal. His is a star turn and one loved by the audience.

There has to be a special mention for the band who clearly love playing Porter’s wonderful music. There is a real spark from them (though, I must admit, the overture was perhaps a tad overlong for my taste.)

Yes, there are a few technical niggles that are inevitable for an opening night performance but I am sure they will be ironed out as the week progresses.

Overall, this is a fresh look at a great classic musical and one that does enormous credit to the company. With young performers such as these, the future of the musical in Oxfordshire is surely secure for the years ahead.


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