Anyone Can Whistle, 4 Stars

Anyone Can Whistle
Southwark Playhouse
1st April to 7th May, 2022

“A political satire about conformity and the ostracisation of those considered ‘other’ in society. Set in a fictional town where the government controls everything, even the miracles, this fast paced and off-the-wall musical is as hilarious as it is subversive.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 4 Stars

The show is bonkers! It’s like watching a children’s TV show that was created by mixing the Teletubbies with Rainbow and Play School and watching through the round window. The adults are dressed in colourful oversized children’s wear that doesn’t fit very well, and the Set is a catwalk with a large stone at the end. The stone has allegedly been leftover from a previous Peer Gynt festival.

Following a tryout period in Philadelphia, Anyone opened at the Majestic Theater on Broadway on April 4, 1964. The show received widely varied reviews (including negative notices from the New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune), and closed after a run of 12 previews and 9 performances.

This production is very relevant now as we acknowledge our differences and question gender norms. It would have been ahead of it’s time in the 60s. But the book lacks clarity to support Sondheim’s incredible music.

Delightful musical numbers and casting keep the show largely buoyant. An energetic cast with dynamic choreography (Lisa Stevens) support the show. Alex Young stops the show every time she comes on stage. She’s incredible, terrific and an absolute joy in her characterisation of Mayoress Cara Hoover Hooper. So much to love about this show!

Sadly though, the production does grind to a halt in the two long and wordy dialogue scenes between Hapgood (Jordan Broatch) and Apple (Chrystine Symone). If these two scenes were cut the show would be excellent, and would make just as much sense, but of course licensing would unlikely allow this so you have to tolerate these drawn-out scenes and hope they speak quickly. The large live Band are way too loud for the cast to project over, even though everyone is mic’d. I sadly missed a lot of the dialogue and some of the lyrics as the sound balance isn’t right.

But having said that, this is a must-see show! You’ll have so much fun and a fantastic time!

Alex Young (She/Her) as Cora Hoover HooperChrystine Symone (She/Her) as Nurse Fay AppleJordan Broatch (They/Them) as J Bowden HapgoodDanny Lane (He/Him) as Comptroller SchubSamuel Clifford (He/Him) as Treasurer CooleyRenan Teodoro (He/Him) as Chief of Police MagruederNathan Taylor (happy with any pronouns) as Dr DetmoldKathryn Akin (She/Her) as Mrs SchroederMarisha Morgan (She/Her) as Baby JoanTeddy Hinde (They/Them) as JohnHana Ichijo (She/Her) as June Shane Convery (They/Them) as GeorgeJensen Tudtud (He/Him) as Martin

Creative Team
Director: Matthew Rankcom (They/Them)
Musical Director: Natalie Pound (She/Her)
Choreographer: Lisa Stevens (She/Her)
Orchestrations: Charlie Ingles (He/Him)
Original Orchestrations: Don Walker (He/Him)
Set and Costume Designer: Cory Shipp (She/Her)
Lighting Designer: Alex Musgrave (He/Him)
Assistant Director Alex Conder (He/Him)
Produced by The Grey Area and Liam McIntosh Entertainment

Photo Credit: Danny With a Camera

Anyone Can WhistleBook by Arthur LaurentsMusic and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim Directed by Georgie  Rankcom Southwark Playhouse77-85 Newington Causeway,London SE1 6BDBox office020 7407 0234between 10am and 6pm, Monday-FridayIn person at the theatre from 10amMonday – Friday, and from 1pm on Saturdayonline April – 7 May 2022Times:Mon-Sat @ 7.30pmTues and Sat mats @ 3pmPrices:Previews 1 – 4 April  – all tickets £16£27.50 / £22 concessionsSocial mediaTwitter@WhistleLDN@swkplayFacebookSouthwarkPlayhouseInstagramswkplay