Guys and Dolls

Theatre, Musicals
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 (© Johan Persson)
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© Johan Persson

Rebel Wilson (Miss Adelaide)

 (© Johan Persson)
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© Johan Persson

Rebel Wilson (Miss Adelaide)

 (© Johan Persson)
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© Johan Persson

Gavin Spoked (Nicely Nicely), Simon Lipkin (Nathan Detroit) and Carl Patrick (Rusty Charlie) 

 (© Johan Persson)
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© Johan Persson

Oliver Tompsett (Sky Masterson)

 (© Johan Persson)
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© Johan Persson

Oliver Tompsett (Sky Masterson)

 (© Johan Persson)
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© Johan Persson

Rebel Wilson (Miss Adelaide)

 (© Johan Persson)
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© Johan Persson
 (© Johan Persson)
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© Johan Persson

The high-rollin' musical classic is back, now with added Rebel Wilson

Hollywood comedian Rebel Wilson is a slightly random but certainly not unwelcome addition to the cast of the West End's 'Guys and Dolls'. 

Gordon Greenberg's production has been running in London - first at the Savoy, now at the Phoenix - since the end of last year, and hasn't hitherto relied on celebrity casting. But Wilson’s arrival seems mutually convenient: this revival of the classic New York-set gangsters musical gets a commercial shot in the arm during the traditionally slow summer months;  big musicals nut Wilson gets to live out her dreams for a limited stint (she’s there until Aug 21) without the pressure that comes with being tasked with carrying a brand new production.

I say her casting is slightly random, because for all its ebullience, silliness and sly wit, 'Guys and Dolls' is an very classy 1950 musical. Nobody swears, nobody farts. Wilson is a very modern comic actor, from a world where everybody swears and everybody farts. Her take on ditzy, 14-years engaged cabaret dancer Miss Adelaide is more vulgar and more stylised than most: lustily grabbing crotches, pulling weird facial expressions, speaking in a glue-thick Brooklyn accent that makes it sound like she’s just been lobotomised; inevitably having fun with her plus-size physicality during her two big numbers. In isolation, it genuinely works, because Wilson is a funny woman. When she interacts with somebody else, it kind of doesn’t, because her aggressively laugh-mining style is at odds with the more soulful performances from around her. But that’s okay: most of Adelaide’s scenes are pretty standalone, substantially based on a couple of OTT song-and-dance umbers, which she dispatches with gleeful brio. 

And the show has strong enough fundamentals to handle her. Now on its third set of leads, the cast isn’t quite as tip-top as the initial one, but there are still plenty of survivors from back then: it’s wonderful to see Gavin Spokes still there with his Olivier-nominated turn as affable gangster Nicely Nicely. His barnstorming rendition of climatic faux gospel number ‘Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat’ is still utterly sublime, a reminder that ‘Guys and Dolls’ is bigger than any one actor.

By: Andrzej Lukowski

Posted:

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Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:8
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|20
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1 of 1 found helpful

Good stuff. This is what musicals should be like, if you ask me. Gangsters, showgirls, tropical destinations….Expectations were high, and the first half dragged a bit. But I enjoyed the characters, songs and especially the dancers. Great choreography, loved the craps scene and the scene in Havana! The first act could have done with a bit more of this.


Sky (although no Marlon Brando) was good for the part. He seemed very believable and natural in his role as successful gambler, ‘sinner’ and charmer. And he could sing (unlike Sarah, who was pretty pitchy).  Adelaide was also a great character, and singer, but, she was so hunched over that for me and my friend it became a distraction (Is she meant to be standing like that? What is wrong with her?). It didn’t feel right for a showgirl, even if she is a showgirl with a cold. But, the show was, nevertheless, enjoyable, especially during the second half when the pace picked up a bit and there was more singing and dancing. Good fun. 

1 of 1 found helpful
Staff Writer

I would like to start by saying that the the orchestra were AMAZING! One of the best I have heard in the theatre, I would give a 5* easily to such incredible musicians.The opening melody hooked me straight away and through the Havana scene I literally closed my eyes and listened. 


I found that that there were a lot of still moments (I know that makes no sense- sorry) and so I got a little bored pre interval. Post interval there were more fun scenes and some of my favourite songs. 


Overall I liked it and if you are fan of the music from Guys and Dolls then I would recommend a visit to this show. 

1 of 1 found helpful
Staff Writer

Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe the Savoy run has left the actors tired. Maybe the choreographer got a bit over-excited and made the routines too long. Actually, it's all that and more that made this a really disappointing show. The swing/chorus were distracting, clumsy and didn't project the atmosphere at all. Siobhan Harrison's vocal range made her songs cringe worthy and they bled the one song people enjoyed dry. Many people left at intermission, the 'standing ovation' was mainly people putting on their coats. The only positives were Miss Adelaide (Sophie Thompson) and Sky (Jamie Parker) who carried the show.

Tastemaker

Old school musicals are having a come-back, and since wowing audiences at the Savoy, and now the Phoenix, Guys and Dolls is leading the way. 


This production takes the glitz, glamour and grime of 1950's New York and brings it to life in a vivacious, hilarious and beautifully choreographed explosion. The cast are brilliant- Oliver Tompsett as Sky Masterson is captivating; super sexy, super slick ans super suave, and his rendition of 'Luck be a Lady' has all the swagger and charm of Brando's himself, but with better vocals,(sorry Marlon, you were pretty but singing wasn't your forte). 


Another stand out performer is Gavin Spokes as Nicely Nicely Johnson, whose comic timing and insane range mean 'Sit Down Your Rocking the Boat' not only rocks the entire auditorium, but has two encores as a number on its own: a-mazing. And of course, you cannot mention the cast without a nod to Miss Rebel Wilson, who brings her infectious humour, her brilliant one-liners (often delivered with a suspicious air of improvisation) and cracking lungs to the production as Miss Adelaide. She undoubtedly is a star and steals the show in many scenes, but this production would shine with or without her. 


The set is fantastic; bright lights, neon signs and recognisable brands such as Coca-Cola adorn the backdrop, enhancing the feel of this infamous decade, which incidentally suitably contrasts Sarah Brown's fuddy duddy mission. Team this with the outstanding (and superior to any other show on the West End) choreography from famed Cuban ballet dancer, Carlos Acosta and this show is one of the best on the West End. 


With its early closure announced today, make sure you snap up one of these tickets before these guys and dolls head out of town.


Top Tip: The Phoenix theatre has great views pretty much in any seat, so no need to break the bank getting premium tickets. 

tastemaker

I enjoyed this show as a whole, mainly because the story and musical numbers are so good.  However when the music wasn't playing I felt the whole thing lacked charisma.  Some of the dialogue and dance sequences just weren't as funny or exciting as they should have been.  I presume this is why they cast Rebel Wilson in the present run but unfortunately for me I found her presence draining and distracting rather than uplifting.  My fellow audience members obviously felt differently as there was lots of belly laughing going on around me whenever she was on stage. 
The best thing by far was Sky Masterson (Oliver Tompsett), who captivated the audience whenever he was on stage, and the 2 supporting male performances by Gavin Spooks and Jason Pennycooke.  A fine way to spend a Friday night but ultimately I came away just wanting to re-watch the film.


We had high expectations of Guys and Dolls and we weren't disappointed.  A couple of friends had told me about it on Teepee, my new fav recommendations app so we knew we were in for a good night. There were moments here or there when the show dragged a little, but overall it was fast and fun and I'd definitely say it makes for a great night's entertainment. 

tastemaker

I am not a big fan of musicals but I was totally taken away by Guys and Dolls, I loved every minute of it. The story is really enjoyable, the songs are delivered beautifully and the choreography is on point. There were particular singing and dancing scenes that had me so absorbed, I had to snap back to reality once the clapping started.

I had the luxury of seeing Rebel Wilson star as the main doll 'Adelaide'. As you can expect, Rebel had me laughing with every scene she was in. I really couldn't imagine this show without her. If you can, I would make sure you catch Guys and Dolls within the next 2 months before she leaves!

There were a few raunchy jokes, making me feel that this isn't one for the kids but definitely one for couples on a date or a group of friends.

tastemaker

There’s not a dull moment in Guys and Dolls, currently on at London’s Phoenix theatre.

The cast and orchestra do a brilliant job of pulling off this dazzling, funny, energetic New York musical.

‘Luck Be A Lady’ and ‘Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat’ are familiar classics that come to life and will have you tapping your feet (if you resist the urge to sing-along!).

See it while you can- it’s on a limited run.

tastemaker

I really enjoyed this musical and thought Sophie Thompson was outstanding as Ms Adelaide - you really feel for her at times.  It did seem to drag a little in the second half, but the songs, staging and performances are well worth seeing.  A cheesy musical, but great feel good effect!

Tastemaker

great entertainment for the whole family! even if it is about gambling and showgirls... The good clean fun on the stage is infectious and many of the audience were on their feet by the end of the final number. The cast is absolutely brilliant, especially the four leads. The ensemble is one of the best I have seen in awhile too and they looked like they were having such a good time on stage. Do catch this on tour! although the cast will be different, but just as good I bet!

Tastemaker

Great show. We had great seats seven rows from the front. The acting was good, the songs were good - not as memorable as some West End shows, but I'm seeing it again in 3 weeks!

Tastemaker

I went to see ‘Guys and Doll’s’ with no prior knowledge of it other than it is set in New York. What followed was a glorious few hours of colourful costumes and sets, laughter and song. The plot revolves around Nathan Detroit, a gangster who has been engaged to 14 years to Miss Adelaide. He places a bet with the suave and sexy Sky Masterson to win the money he needs to host a dice game- the bet being that Sky has to take missionary ‘doll’ Sarah down to Havana. Misunderstandings and comedic moments galore follow, as Sky sets out to win the bet and an equally determined Nathan tried to find somewhere to host his game- and escape his girlfriend’s wedding plans.

The choreography is brilliant, with so much energy in all of the dances. The songs are heartfelt and funny by turns. The actors are fantastic, with first rate performances from the whole cast. Despite its long running time (around three hours including the interval) I didn't look at my watch once and was enthralled throughout by the joy and verve on stage. Highly recommended! 


Fabulous. Thoroughly enjoyed it and was so much better than we expected. Sophie Thompson was hilarious as Adelaide and David Haig showed his experience as an established actor playing Nathan Detroit. So pleased we caught it at the Savoy on it's last night at that venue. 

Staff Writer

Guys and Dolls its a classic one, you cannot go all the way wrong if you go watch it but expect some over acting. I thought the character of Miss Adelaide was over acted and the choreography was sometime disorganised. However the orchestra delivered an outstanding music performance and Jamie Parker as Sky Masterson was great. Overall. a good show and sitting in the beautiful Savoiy Theater makes it up... Discover and book this show before it ends on March 12!


This is the, somewhat inadvertently, the third installation of Guys and Dolls I have seen. It was by far my least favourite. It started promisingly as I loved the old ad posters laid out as the backdrop - it looked colourful and visually very pleasing and this did continue for the duration of the show.


But, oh my, it was so over the top. I cannot deny that Jamie Parker as Sky Masterson was the best of a mediocre bunch. But the rest of the cast had serious trouble with overacting. The caricature that was Miss Adelaide was cringe-worthy - skillfully done, no doubt, but just so over-the-top that I felt absolutely no sympathy for the character and just wanted her to stop.


Where the entire show has a character of almost comical over-acting, the main culprit must surely be the director, who took a perfectly good musical and turned up the cheese lever to maximum. The choreographer has some blame to bear as well, as the choreography was chaotic, disorganized and, frankly, un-coordinated. Dancers were out of time with and out of sync with each other and I would have expected more from a professional West End production.


I do really love this musical which gives it an extra star, but I was hoping for so much better.


I don't think you can go too wrong with Guys & Dolls - it's a great show, but I did hope for quite a bit more from this production considering how much I enjoy the story and the songs already.The actor playing Sky Masterson was the standout, and the performance of 'Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat' was excellent, but other than that it coasted on the quality of the material.


Guys and Dolls isn't half bad, it's actually probably one of the better ones! With some fantastic show pieces and a talented cast it makes sense to head to The Savoy whilst you still can. It's a little long, the story-line isn't the most thrilling and has several filler-songs that could be done without, but once you get to the the big show-pieces you'll come out with the songs going round-and-round in your head and a great big fat smile on your face. All in all, a light-hearted and pleasantly enjoyable show. 

Tastemaker

Guys and Dolls was lighthearted, funny and high energy - everything you want in a musical. Sophie Thompson plays a very over the top Miss Adelaide and has many show stealing one liners. The standout voice for me was Siubhan Harrison as Sarah Brown. I had no idea of the storyline before the show but it was very entertaining. It's definitely a classic worth catching while its playing in London.


A joyous production of a timeless classic. Jamie Parker enlivens the part of Sky as more than just a suave womaniser, bringing warmth and humour to a boring role. David Haig lets the show down though as Nathan Detroit - he's quite naff. However, nothing bad to say about the rest of it. It'll make your cheeks ache from smiling.

Tastemaker

Excellent setting in the Savoy Theatre, boast great view and vip treatment even in the bleeder seats!


The stage lighting is beautiful and the case are energetic even though the story line gets a bit bland for a musical.


Some great lol moments and Adelaide is the star! A fun night out that will you smile but not blow you away.