Theater Info for the Washington DC region

C.D. Hylton High School Anything Goes

By • Apr 21st, 2008 • Category: Cappies

“Do you hear that playin’?” With befuddled mobsters, mismatched couples, and the continuous search for true love, C.D. Hylton High School’s Anything Goes showcased the 35-person cast’s musical talent in this timeless romantic comedy.

Billy Crocker (Reuben Schwartz) desperately pairs up with Moonface Martin (Malcolm Burke) and Bonnie (Cathy Roberds), notorious gangsters, to follow the love of his life, Hope Harcourt (Leanna Smithberger) and her bumbling English fiancé, Sir Evelyn Oakleigh (Jonathan Cuesta), aboard an oceanliner. Taking the ticket and passport of America’s most wanted criminal, Billy is constantly forced into different personas and costumes once the Captain (Andrew Rupert) and Purser (Jason Danby) realize an outlaw is on the loose. With the help of Reno Sweeney (Katherine Wilkins) to seduce Sir Evelyn, Billy’s attempt to evade his near-sighted boss Elisha J. Whitney (Michael Davis), and appearances from a confused pair of card-playing Chinese converts named Ching (Harry Hicock) and Ling (Andrew Connor Smith), Billy’s chase for Hope’s love is brought to a comical extreme.

Reuben Schwartz charmed the audience with his tap-dancing, a wide variety of accents, and his vocals. Showing a range from a mischievous impostor to a desperately hopeful lover, he worked through some physical awkwardness to produce an endearing character that easily became a crowd favorite.

Jonathan Cuesta’s captivating slapstick comedy was brilliantly executed. Never failing to stay in character, his facial expressions alone were enough to produce belly laughs. Coupled with his chipper deliveries and foolish mannerisms, Cuesta brought a vivaciousness unusual to a high school stage.

Articulation and diction were common issues, and although the orchestra drowned out many lines, the cast still persevered to create a whimsical mood onstage that radiated into the audience. Very simple choreography and an apparent discomfort with many actors’ physicality inhibited some of the play’s potential, but the actors still managed to show a clear understanding of their lines and the themes of the show. The cast also did a noteworthy job of creating believable chemistry among characters and providing a number of side-splitting scenes.

The literally designed set was aesthetically faultless. The multi-leveled set was created to look like a ship, and with its swinging white doors and blue sky backdrop, it gave off the perfect nautical vibe. With a dimmed stage, glittering lights gave the illusion of a night sky. Although the lighting was simple, it always was made to enhance the scene and not detract attention. The smallest details in the set, including nautical signal flags and shiny silver bolting, show a commendable amount of work and thought put into the set design.

Anything Goes provided catchy tunes and witty comebacks “all through the night.” Its comical aspects were challenging, but easily overcome by the skilled cast. Even with its setbacks, C.D. Hylton put on a production that was positively “delovely.”

by Grace Donovan of Osbourn

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