April 26th, 2012

La Loge

Anything Goes

"In olden days, a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking.  Now, god knows:  Anything Goes!"

Well, almost.  Even the heavily re-written book we saw last night revolves about a marriage plot, (or two, or three) and the booty calls are all by Moonface Martin's hot redheaded sidekick, Erma (or Oima, in Joel Grey's on-again-off-again Bronxese).  Not a four-letter word in sight, either.  Plenty of ankles, though.  And calves and knees and thighs of inordinate length, and twitching backsides, male and female.  The keynotes of the evening were innuendo, double-entendre, and a double helping of joy de vivre, all ending up in multiple marriage bells and a grand tap-dancing finale.

My scholar's heart would love to do a comparative reading of the original play and this reboot (with, I doubt not, new songs swiped from other, more forgettable Cole Porter musicals).  But since I don't know the original, I can't do that.  I can tell you that I was pleasantly surprised by Act I, which makes sense (for some alternate value of "sense") once you accept the utterly unlikely plot premises.  Act II (featuring a dream sequence in the brig with a blue follow-spot playing a bluebird and a completely unlikely tent revival/revue number involving an entire ship-load of idiots passengers randomly confessing their sins to a bunch of hootchie-cootchie dancers, fell apart entirely.  But by that time, nobody cared.  We'd seen the astonishing tour-de-force of stagecraft and dancing that was the Act I closer, and we were ready to swallow anything, as long as it had plenty of sequins in it.

Which is pretty much what we got.  Yes, we missed Sutton Foster as Reno Sweeney, but Stephanie J. Block was energetic, sexy, and a helluva good dancer and singer.  She did the tough-girl nightclub singer schitk a treat.