Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Upper Room Theatre Guys and Dolls

By • Jul 23rd, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Guys and Dolls
Upper Room Theatre
All Saints Church, Manassas, VA
Through July 25th
3 hours, with one intermission
$12/$10 Seniors/$8 Youth
Reviewed July 22, 2010

This was a strong performance with the cast and huge crew putting a lot of effort into the production. Really the only drawbacks were in some of the lighting and sound areas.

The prince of the crapshooters, Nathan Detroit, was played by Producer Rob Tessier. Usually behind the scenes, Tessier chose to reveal his hidden talents as an actor and dancer for this production. Tessier gave an above average performance as Detroit. He kept in character, responded to the other characters with high emotion and even when not the center of attention stayed alert to the action going on around him. Likewise, Nicely Nicely Johnson, played by Jacob Higginbottom, gave a great performance. Like Tessier, he too kept the emotion high and always knew how to play to the audience.

If Nathan Detroit is the prince of the crapshooters one could say that Sky Masterson, played by Brennan Penders, is the king. Penders played the role of Sky Masterson with style and class. He came across as a real high roller with a quiet calmness and strength that was deceiving. He was gentle and sincere one moment (when singing to Sarah Brown) then could turn ugly fast when threatened (delivering a collection of sinners to the Save A Soul Mission).

The two female leads and love interests of Sky and Nathan were Miss Sarah Brown and Miss Adelaide. Brown played by Shannon Bartnick was pretty straight-laced (at least until the Dulce de Leche kicked in). Bartnick was strong and passionate about her work in the mission. She came across as no nonsense and forthright. Detroit’s fiancĂ© of 14 years, Miss Adelaide, was played by Kelly Craige. Craige was spunky and passionate about her love for Nathan, which sometimes led to utter exasperation over his crap game. One down side was that her “cold” seemed to come and go.

Some really fast set changes and terrific scene designs kept the show moving. Audio problems, such as the mics being left on when actors were off-stage, turned down too low, and some crackling that was distracting (not to mention hair raising), ocurred throughout the show. The lighting was well executed overall, although there were a few times when the lights and the music did not always end at the same time. Ocasionally the lights faded to black a beat too quickly, preventing the audience from seeing the last moment of a scene. Lighting Coordinator was Andrew Heller. Balancing the technical issues is of course difficult in the found space of a gymnasium.

The choreography was well thought out and some dances were fairly difficult to perform. The scene to start the second act did not live up to the expectations, s the choreography ddn’t quite match up with the music or lyrics. I was hoping that the Hot Box girls would take all their stuff with them after the song. They didn’t and it made the set looked messy. The Choreographer was Vickie Taylor. The singing, under the direction of Cathy Drummond, was surprisingly clear, although at times the volume of the orchestra overwhelmed the cast on-stage.

Overall, the Upper Room Theatre’s Guys and Dolls is a show to go see with the family. You will enjoy it and get your money’s worth.

Disclaimer: Upper Room Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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