Theatre Review: Anything Goes ✭✭✭

Anything Goes sailed into the King's Theatre this week on the good ship SS American.

Written in the 1930s, when luxury long distance cruising was the height of sophistication, the show tells the tale of Billy Crocker who stows away on the liner in pursuit of his one true love, Hope Harcourt. Hapless Billy ignores his boss's instructions to return to Wall Street to sell his shares and what follows is a madcap adventure as he tries to remain undiscovered as a stowaway before being mistaken for a dangerous mobster.

With an impressive, albeit strangely vertical, ship set the Anything Goes hails from the bygone days of musicals where lengthy dance numbers are order of the day with Cole Porter's music filling the air. A new book by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman goes some way to bring together a fairly lacklustre plotline but at several points it certainly foundered.

Spirited performances from the cast led by Debbie Kurup and Matt Rawle bring the piece to life. As nightclub star Reno Sweeney, Kurup brings charisma and chic style. Rawle's lovesick Billy Crocker is no doubt the envy of every man on the theatre given the women fighting over him. Rawle's impressive voice and puppyish characterisation create a lovable rogue that it's difficult not to root for. Shaun Williamson's unlucky mobster Moonface Martin provides comic relief with his desperate attempts at recognition. The surprising scene stealer is Stephen Matthews' Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. His brilliant performance transforms a potentially mediocre character into a comedic highlight, especially in Act 2's The Gypsy in Me.

For audiences of a certain age Anything Goes is a gentle cruise to the roots of musical theatre and it's "'s de-lovely".

Anything Goes is at the King's Theatre until Saturday 25th April. For tickets and information visit