Anything Goes with the Quebec Art Company

Anything Goes with the Quebec Art Company
Michael Bourguignon, Larry Hodgson, Peter Calkins, and Rosie Sabor on-stage for Anything Goes

Michael Bourguignon, Larry Hodgson, Martin Trager, and Rosie Sabor on-stage for Anything Goes

It takes a lot of planning, equipment, skill, and preparation to put together a musical.  A cast of professionally-trained stage actors needs to work in perfect sync with a 40-piece orchestra, while a top-of-the-line lighting system shines on the expertly-crafted sets and intricate costumes.  Well, the Quebec Art Company has none of these things… and it didn’t matter.  Fresh off their opening night, this year’s Quebec Art Company showing of Anything Goes is nothing short of a fun, fresh bit of the very best English-language amateur theatre in the region.

After their more dramatic and daring choice in last year’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, the Quebec Art Company returns to its traditional realm of feel-good musicals with Cole Porter’s 1934 classic.  Anything Goes is commonly cited as a guilty pleasure of many musical theatre goers and easily follows the Twelfth-Night-esque formula of mistaken identity, love triangles, wealthy Lords, and happy endings popular to musicals of the 1930s.  This is not a bad thing – there’s a reason the formula worked for so long, and used as a backdrop to a series of musical pieces, it leaves viewers with a comfortable sense of the common tropes they’ve come to expect.

Despite that this is amateur theatre, the main cast shines in their delivery of song and dialogue.  Actors Michael Bourguignon as the (reformed) womanising New York stockbroker Billy Crocker, and Rosie Sabor as the well-womanised nightclub performer Reno Sweeney, particularly glimmer when together on stage.  Their interactions feel more as if each actor is playing off the other, rather than simply inhabiting the skin of their characters.  Martin Trager and Kelly Leighton also hold the audience’s attention whenever they’re on stage, continuing to breathe life into the wealthy British aristocrat Lord Evelyn Oakleigh and young ingenue Hope Harcourt even when not delivering lines or even being the main focus of the action.

Being in the vaudeville style of 1930s musicals, secondary characters and even the chorus get their fair share of one-off songs, and in this the seasoned crew of the Quebec Art Company certainly does not disappoint.  Even though this is decidedly a family-friendly play, some of the characters exploit fairly edgy personalities, which only makes the side-acts that much funnier and more enjoyable.

The Quebec Art Company’s run of Anything Goes continues until Sunday.  For more information, visit the Quebec Art Company website.  Friday’s showing is already sold out, so get your tickets fast!

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Farnell Morisset – LifeinQuebec.com Staff Writer

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