It was a wonderful night at the opening of David Hennessy’s Junior Stage School production of Guys And Dolls from The Broadway Junior Collection at Garter Lane Arts Centre. The excitement and happiness just jumped out at you and carried you along with a huge ever changing cast of young people, some in the 4 to 6 age bracket.
Paul Barry’s set design was amazing and when you consider the small budgets these stage schools have, he did the company and children proud. It was colourful, mounted on trucks or castors and created the many functional areas of the show. Avril Musgrave worked wonders with attractive costumes and Paul Brown’s lighting was excellent.
The show used the packaged backing tapes but these pre-recordings give a fresh urgency to a cast and they have to be spot-on with cues and emphasis and this cast were. With a minimum of exclusions, the show zipped along for 75 minutes without an interval and it just got better and better. The directors Liza Caulfield and David Hennessy made complex scenes appear easy and they were inventive and busy at all times.
The big scene routines were choreographed by David Hennessy with style and finesse and entertainment was to the forefront at all times.
The characterisations were excellent. Ian McCarthy as Benny Southstreet, Luke Stone as Harry The Horse, Rachel Corcoran as Angie The Ox and Shane Mooney as Rusty Charlie set the scene so well. Mark Kennedy as M.C. was masterful, Ellen Howley as General Cartwright was a natural and Eoin Sheridan was a sure L.T. Brannigan.
Having two impressive twins (only tots) as Big Julies was novel and crowd-pleasing and Ilganna Cislagmi and Isabella Cislagmi were a wow in these parts. Emmet Power brought gravitas to Arvide and Alex Collins, Kelly O’Dwyer, Amy Keegan and David Moore added to the class on stage.
Luke O’Mahony was an excellent Nathan Detroit and Adam Phelan delighted as Sky Masterson. Lauren Cardiff as Sarah Brown was impressive and met the moods of the role head on. Her Havana drunk scene was a treat.
Sinead Lyons as Miss Adelaide was superb and her Lament a joy to enjoy. This teenager has all the hallmarks of a quality actress such is her ability and confidence.
But it was a sub-teen Holly Ryan as Nicely Nicely Johnson that electrified this show. Time and time again she lit up the stage, carried the dialogue and her Rockin’ The Boat was a show-stopper. What a performer.