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LETTER FROM TIM ALLEN (article first published : 2007-12-17)

Dear Editor,

I have read with great interest the letters published regarding Guys and Dolls. I attended a preview evening and find it difficult to equate the comments on the show in the Sunday Tribune with the production I saw.

On the evening I attended – a preview, with the Director reminding the audience that there would be polishing to be done before the opening night – I was struck by a number of things.

The evening began somewhat mechanically, but caught fire with the entrance of the General (Ross-Williams); her presence brought the production to life, and the energy was sustained. Lead voices were not as strong in all cases as they might have been, but character was identified and developed.

The costumes were creative, vivid and clever, as one would expect from their designer – truly original. When an artist of this calibre is involved in theatre, the production surely merits serious consideration?

The dancing, particularly in the big numbers in the second half, was tight and vital, as one would expect from the choreographer. The chorus work was more than good. Unfortunately, the set fell short of the comic book signature that might have been intended, but lighting and the work of the entire ensemble shifted attention to the important stuff.

I was also struck forcibly by the fact that the show is as original and entertaining as it was fifty years ago – unlike many other pieces from that pre- and post-war period. The dialogue is funny, and subtle, and well understood by the actors. Above all, this reflects on Mace’s direction, which wasn’t half bad at all.

This is a show that visitors to Durban should see and I think would enjoy. I hope they do both. I went out and bought the CD on my return to Johannesburg, whose critics are generally pretty reliable.

Strength to those who undertook this project.

From (unfortunately – I would have liked to write this with no association to any person in the show) the father of the girl in the weird red dress in the bar scenes, but with enough experience in theatre to be able to comment) …. Tim Allen




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