The Daily Gamecock

Workshop Theatre's 'Anything Goes' relies on easy comedy, choreography

Workshop Theatre’s “Anything Goes,” directed by Cindy Flach, relies on easy humor and a tell-tale love story to win over audience members.

“I can’t find my little Cheeky,” cried Diane Gilbert as Evangeline Harcourt in Workshop Theatre’s opening performance of the musical.

“It’s right beside your little nosey,” responded Glenn Farr as the captain.

It was that sort of corny, low-level humor that helped the 35-member cast of the performance make it through the night.  

Set primarily on a cruise, the plot revolves around a tried and true “boy meets girl he can’t have” story line. With romance, lust, trickery and deceit strewn throughout, the production was host to many first-timers on the Workshop stage.

Danny Alston, playing Billy Crocker, not only made his debut on the Bull Street theater stage but also his debut in theater. Playing the leading male, Alston was certainly one of the most talented male voices on stage.

Vocally, the cast was diverse. Although all members were all committed, some of the voices — like Gilbert’s and Alston’s — on stage were strong and sure of themselves, while others were a bit timid and seemingly untrained. At times, some could not even be understood.

University dance faculty member Anna Dragoni-Logan’s heavily accented voice stole the stage many times throughout the performance, as she played the character of Reno Sweeny. Featured in more songs than any other single member of the cast, Dragoni-Logan’s voice brought an old-world vibe to the arrangements.

Reno seemed to preside over the plot. Present from the first scene all the way to the last, she made connections with just about every main character and served as the part of an onboard celebrity, among two wanted criminals. Her criminal counterparts include Alston’s Billy Crocker and Moonface Martin, played by Brett Butler.

Butler’s character, Moonface Martin, is one made for comedic relief. The “public enemy No. 2” finds his way onto the ship running from the cops with his “de-lovely” partner in crime, Erma. Disguised as a priest, Martin finds himself corrupting others like Reno and Crocker in an attempt to win back Cocker’s love, Hope Harcourt. With a few different disguises and even a bit of framing, the criminal finally finds success as Crocker and Hope, played by third-year music education student Katie Leitner, marry at the close of the production.

In terms of choreography, the cast was solid.  With a few pas de deuxs across the floor and an outstanding tap number at the close of the second act, the steps of the production — choreographed by Joy Alexander — stole the show.

The production, which stars USC faculty and students, will run through Oct. 1 at the Workshop Theatre at 1136 Bull St. Tickets are $22 for adults and $16 for students.