≡ Menu

Guys and Dolls Review


Guys and Dolls Review

The Bristol Hippodrome

Tuesday 12th – Saturday 16th July 2016

Guys and Dolls is touring the UK and plays at The Bristol Hippodrome theatre from 12 – 16 July 2016.

Set in prohibition-era New York, Guys and Dolls first premiered on Broadway in 1950 and captured the optimism and energy of post-World War Two America. Based on American journalist Damon Runyon’s colourful stories of the gamblers, hustlers and nightclub singers of New York, this multi award-winning musical features memorable musical numbers, including ‘My Time of Day’, ‘Luck be a Lady’ and the show-stopping ‘Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat’.


Nathan Detroit is desperate. He needs money for an illegal dice game and he needs it fast. He’s spent the last 14 years engaged to nightclub singer Miss Adelaide, whose patience is finally running out. Enter notorious gambler Sky Masterson, a guy who can never turn down a bet, and missionary Sarah Brown, a doll with a heart of ice. Nathan’s wager is that Sky has to romance straight-laced Sarah and persuade her to have dinner with him in Havana or else cover the $1000 he needs to put down for the crap game venue.  Surely this is one bet Nathan absolutely can’t lose?


Scenery is fairly simple. An arch formed from period advertising boards like Oreo sandwich, Lucky Strikes and Pepsi Cola, frames the stage.

The “guys” are likeable low-lives, decked out in their finest gaudy tartan suits and trilby hats. Their “dolls”, on the other hand, are prettily done up to the nines.

Guys-and-Dolls-Review-2016 PEOPLE PLACES AND THINGS by Duncan Macmillan, Writer - Duncan Macmillan, Director - Jeremy Herrin, Set Designer - Bunny Christie, Westend, 2016, Credit: Johan Persson/

All the acting, dancing and singing is top notch and I’m sure I’m biased, but it’s the women’s performances which I’m going to take away with me.

Louise Dearman plays long-suffering wannabe bride and glamorous dancer, Adelaide, who after fourteen years as Nathan Detroit’s (Maxwell Caulfield) fiancée is bursting with fabulously delivered bittersweet lines:-

“Tell Nathan I never want to talk to him again and have him call me here.”

and how many of us women can honestly say we’ve never felt like this about our fellas?

“I always thought how wonderful he’d be, if he was different!”

Anna O’Byrne is perfect as frustrated do-gooder Sarah Brown, but she soon forgets to be uptight once she’s downed a Bacardi – or five! A personality flip later and her drunken dancing is a joy to behold! Oh and amazing singing too, thank you Anna.

Once both these dolls realise they can’t help but love their guys, despite their major imperfections, they make us laugh as they speculate in duet form whether they might just as well:-

“Marry the man today and train him sub-se-quent-ly!”

The big group number, ‘Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat’, is animated and so popular, I wonder if the audience is actually going to stop clapping afterwards or whether we should just leave now!


Guys-and-Dolls-Review-2016 PEOPLE PLACES AND THINGS by Duncan Macmillan, Writer - Duncan Macmillan, Director - Jeremy Herrin, Set Designer - Bunny Christie, Westend, 2016, Credit: Johan Persson/


All three of my boys enjoy Guys and Dolls, particularly my twelve year old. There’s a good plot and plenty of dialogue between songs, which the boys like. I don’t spot any bad language –  unless you count ‘crap game’ ;). Although I don’t think there’s anything inappropriate for their

Although I don’t think there’s anything inappropriate for their age group, I probably wouldn’t take a child younger than my seven year old just because it may not hold their interest, as there’s nothing specifically child orientated in the show.



It’s refreshing to see a cast which features women who are, well, ‘womanly’ in shape. Stick insects need not apply! And quite a few of the main roles are for men and women past the first flush of youth, which I also like.

Both Nathan and Adelaide and Sky and Sarah are believable as couples.

Guys and Dolls is a ‘nice’, post-war feel-good show, where every song ends with jazz hands and a crescendo.

Guys and Dolls is at The Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday. Dates, times and prices are below along with a  link to the booking website.


Tuesday 12th – Saturday 16th July

Evenings at 7.30 pm

Matinees on Wed/Thu/Sat at 2.30 pm

Tickets from £15.00 – Concessions available on certain performances

Click here for information on booking this show. (This is an affiliate link which means that I’d receive a small percentage of the basic price if you choose to buy eligible tickets, without you having to pay any extra. Cool right!)


*Louise Dearman will not be performing as Adelaide on the 15th/16th July.

Also appearing are Jack Edwards as Nicely Nicely Johnson, Peter Harding as Arvide Abernathy, Anthony McGill as Lt Brannigan, Mark Sangster as Benny Southstreet, Melanie Marshall as General Cartwright, Craig Pinder as Harry the Horse/Joey Biltmore, Cameron Johnson as Big Julie, Christopher Howell as Rusty Charlie. The ensemble includesEamonn CoxJamal CrawfordJonny GodboldRoss Lee FowkesAron WildKiel PaytonMatthew Whennell-ClarkRuthie StephensBethany LinsdellHannah CauchiChloe ChambersDanielle StephenAbigayle Honeywill and Lucy Ashenden.

Guys and Dolls is directed by Gordon Greenberg with choreography by Cuban dancer and former Royal Ballet star Carlos Acosta and Andrew Wright whose credits include Chichester Festival Theatre’s Singin’ in the Rain.

Based on a story and characters by Damon Runyon

Music and Lyrics:                                              Frank Loesser

Book:                                                                    Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows

Director:                                                              Gordon Greenberg

Designer:                                                             Peter McKintosh

Choreography:                                                  Carlos Acosta and Andrew Wright

Musical Supervisor, Musical Director

and Dance Arrangements:                           Gareth Valentine

Orchestrator:                                                     Larry Blank

Lighting Designer:                                            Tim Mitchell

Sound Designer:                                               Paul Groothuis

Casting Director:                                               Pippa Ailion

UK tour Casting:                                               Anne Vosser



Click here for a complete diary listing of shows at the Bristol Hippodrome during 2016

Enjoyed our Guys and Dolls review? Then why not check out other show reviews on Practically Perfect Mums?

Chicago The Musical

Taming of the Shrew Ballet

Let It Be

Mamma Mia!


Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty


Avenue Q

The Last Tango

The Bodyguard

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 

Mary Poppins

Little Table of Delights

I Puritani

Romeo and Juliet


7 comments… add one

    Please do leave a reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.