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Things go right in South County's 'Anything Goes'

Joey Biagini, a student at Westfield High School, reviews South County Secondary School’s performance of “Anything Goes” as part of The Cappies Critics and Awards Program.

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South County Secondary School’s Flash Trumbetic, Ally Barrale and Nikko Custodio. (Photo by Anne Gallant)

A multitude of disguises, a quirky English noble and a wannabe mobster were all aboard South County Secondary School’s recent production of the outrageous farce “Anything Goes.”

The musical debuted in 1934 at the Neil Simon Theatre, which at the time was the Alvin Theatre. It has music and lyrics by Cole Porter, as well as a book by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse that was later revised by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse. Set aboard a ship on its way from New York to London, “Anything Goes” follows the story of stowaway Billy Crocker (Nikko Custodio) as he attempts to win back the heart of Hope Harcourt (Emily Sargeant) with the help of “Public Enemy 13” Moonface Martin (Flash Trumbetic). Unfortunately, Hope is engaged to the wealthy Englishman Sir Evelyn Oakleigh (Blake Albertson), who also happens to be in love with a nightclub performer aboard the ship, Reno Sweeney (Ally Barrale).

South County’s production featured exactly six doors, which were constantly opening and closing in traditional farce fashion. During high-energy musical numbers such as “Anything Goes,” which was led by Barrale, the ensemble tap-danced in superb synchronization. This made up for any one-dimensionality or blandness that may have been shown by some actors.

Custodio and Barrale led the production with their portrayals of Billy and Reno, respectively. Custodio played the young leading man with determination and vigor; he also displayed pleasing vocals in “It’s Delovely,” which also featured Sargeant. Barrale’s vocal ability was evident in “Blow Gabriel Blow” and “Take Me Back to Manhattan.” Custodio and Barrale also collaborated nicely in the duet “You’re the Top.”

Other standout actors helped to balance out any lack of energy seen in the performance. Trumbetic played the uproarious Moonface Martin with tremendous success; his comedic timing and delivery were perfect in both his dialogue and his musical number, “Be Like the Bluebird.” Lindsay Dillard played Bonnie, Moonface’s girlfriend and partner-in-second-rate-crime. She was able to maintain a very strong character voice without distracting from the natural comedy of the script.

South County’s technical aspects of the production were shaky in some areas but worthy of recognition in others. Emily Witt and Curt Megivern produced effective lighting designs without going over the top. The South County Pit Orchestra played the musical score professionally. The stage crew, led by Kylie Corey and Chelsea Chansen, transitioned between scenes quickly and efficiently.

The overall charisma of key actors and the stunning nature of large ensemble numbers were unquestionably the highlights of the show. South County Secondary School’s production of “Anything Goes” was wonderful.

By Joey Biagini, Posted by Mario Iván Oña  |  May 20, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
 | Tags: Cappies 2010  
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