1928. It is the best of times–after Repeal and just before the stock market crash in 1929. Stock brokers are still regarded as respectable people; hemlines have gone up; social moors are changing faster than anyone can keep track. And an improbable mix of characters board a glamorous ocean liner bound for England from New York City. This is the musical Anything Goes playing at Lakewood Theatre in Lake Oswego through October 18.
Among those boarding the ship: the Lovely Hope Harcourt (Malia Davis), her mother (Lisa Knox), and fiancé Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Darius Pierce); stockbroker Billy Crocker (Brian Demar Jones), who boards without a ticket after spotting the Lovely Hope and realizing he’s in love; evangelizing Reno Sweeney (Amy Jo Halliday) and her backup singers, the four Angels; the notorious gangster Moonface Martin (Shawn Rogers); and Moonface’s sometimes accomplice Bonnie Latour (Megan Misslin).
Once the SS American leaves the harbor, literally anything goes. There is light,silly romance, mistaken identity, general mischief and a whole lotta misbehaving. While the content is light, the humor is a crazy blend of Guy Bolton and P.G. Woodhouse, who wrote the original book. The musical, which dates from 1935, features the haunting and timeless songs of Cole Porter. This is a tasty combination indeed.
For me, the big voices of Halliday and Misslin really made the show. Choreography (Sara Mishler Martins), music (Alan D. Lytle), and directing (Joe Theissen) were spot on. Somehow the evangelizing got lost in the general mayhem. (Those girls were no angels!) But When Reno and Sir Evelyn got going on “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” I got so excited I started planning my funeral. This is a truly fun show, bursting with great singing, dancing and highjinks.