Suffield Players, Suffield, CT
through May 18, 2014
by Shera Cohen
Creating a small theatre stage into a boat -- no, an ocean liner -- is a herculean task of thought, ingenuity, hammering, and painting. The scenic design team of Konrad Rogowski and Kelly Seip has once again, as they have in so many Suffield Players productions, launched “Anything Goes.”
Set in the 1930’s, Cole Porter’s music has been contagious for the past 80+ years. No matter what the age of the audience goer (and it was wonderful to see youngsters in the audience) he/she is familiar with and can probably hum most of the melodies: “You’re The Top,” “It’s Delovely,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “All Through the Night,” and title song
Two comedic plots immediately interweave punctuated with lots of mistaken identity, a love triangle, con men on the lamb, and hackneyed one-liners. All of that is okay in efforts toward purposeful silliness.
“Anything Goes” has lots going for it, and so does Suffield Players -- usually. It seems as if the troupe relied heavily on “newbies” at the helm, particularly the director and choreographer. “AG” demands spunk, frivolity, and get up & go. Sadly, this “AG” didn’t get up. The pace drags, several actors are far too old for their characters, and (sadly) many singers’ voices crack.
Two actors stand out: Kimberly Spera, whose soprano voice is sweet; and Peter Hicks, whose comic timing works well.
What particularly shines in “AG” are, as stated at the top, the excellent tech qualities: Dawn McKay’s costume design, Jerry Zalewski’s lighting, and Hal Chernoff’s sound design.
“AG” has lots of potential. And Suffield Players has proved its skill and success for 60 years. They have, and they will, do better the next time the curtain rises.