Nicholas Hyrner’s production of Guys and Dolls is an ever-moving, ever-changing world of theatre bliss. Neon street lamps hang in Depression-era New York. Performers walk amongst the crowd. Platforms rise and bands march through the standing audience. A massive gamble in immersive theatre pays off as we become part of the show. Floating above the stage, neon lights point way through the dark streets; where shady men gamble and throw their dice in every direction. 

Nathan Detroit (Owain Arthur) is seeking a home for his illegal crap game, whilst his poor fiancé of 14 years Adelaide (Timmika Ramsay) is waiting to finally get married. In order to stay afloat Nathan finds a bet he can’t lose which he finds by betting ladiesman Sky Masterton (George Loannides) that he can’t take a doll to Havana. The doll is Sarah Brown (Celinde Schoenmaker) a Christian preacher. 

Knowing I had a standing ticket, I was slightly nervous walking in but it undoubtedly made for the full experience. There are seated tickets in the stall and balcony but the standing audience gets to enjoy more than the storyline. Ushers (dressed as police officers) lead the crowd around the space, allowing the set to rise from the ground. A wonderfully innovative set by Bunny Christie showcases scenes with raised platforms whilst the set pieces (and the audience) are moved around swiftly. The costumes add the layer of luxury and class that the show needs, especially in Adelaide’s Hot Box where the girls dance in rhinestones, feathers and pointed bras. 

Arlene Phillips and James Cousins have choreographed the show to perfection. All of the movement is stylish, sharp and gives moments for beautiful dance breaks that sweep across the floor. 


The ensemble effortlessly pushed the show along. Often busy and ever-moving but never distracting from the story. The leads are phenomenal at holding us as parts around them move. Owain Arthur and Timmika Ramsay have a sizzling chemistry. Ramsay delivers on every note she sings, she also gives us the sexiest rendition of “A Bushel and a Peck '' which is historically quite a silly number. George Loannides is a suave Sky from the moment he steps on stage. Celinde Schoenmaker shows off a rich soprano, oozing charisma as Sarah. 

The casting on the show is absolutely phenomenal. The entire cast are at the top of their game. Charlotte Sutton presents a diverse cast whose chemistry translates into the energy they exude from start to finish. 

Just when we think we’ve partied our way through the biggest moments in the show Jonathan Andrew Hume sings the roof off with “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat”. This full ensemble, electrifying number lifts the auditorium audience to its feet.

This is a production we will reflect on in the future. Seeing theatre like this reminds us to take risks, they can definitely pay off.


It runs until 31 August. Tickets: here.

Review: Nicole Botha    Photos: Manuel Harlan