Cole Porter’s Anything Goes
Runaway Stage proves that the rumors of the death of tap dancing have been greatly exaggerated, as their energetic production of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes puts the hoofers to work. Christina Paulson-Louk’s choreography has Ruth Phillips (in a wonderful turn as jaded evangelist-turned-showgirl Reno Sweeny) putting her legs to the test. Fortunately, she’s up to the task.
She’s also in fine voice for a number of Cole Porter tunes, but especially the well-known “I Get a Kick Out of You.” It’s the power of the songs that carry this rather lean-on-plot musical, and the leads have the pipes to pull it off. As Billy Crocker, the lovesick stowaway on a cruise ship bound for England, Joshua James brings the energy and style for which he’s becoming known. Both he and Kelly Daniells, as Hope Harcourt, the woman he must win away from the rich and befuddled Sir Evelyn Oakleigh (Tevye Ditter), spark things up whenever they’re on stage.
In the role of not-so-nasty mobster Moonface Martin, director Bob Baxter does double-duty, and his sad-sack bad guy is a winner. But the production suffers a tad from what we might call the Breakfast at Tiffany’s effect; stereotypical comic portrayals of Asians are just not funny these days, and it makes the show’s resolution a bit uncomfortable. Also, the company still suffers through the difficulties of a temperamental sound system, overcome by their enthusiasm and talent, but occasionally annoying nonetheless.