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Winchester Operatic Society - WOS - Anything Goes - May 2011 - Theatre Royal Winchester


2011 Anything Goes - WMOS - Winchester Musicals and Opera Society
Click on poster to view full show programme

Director - Shaun Dodimead
Musical Director - John Sparrow

Choreography - Louise Hodson


By Cole Porter




Reno Sweeney - Katie Hickson

Hope Harcourt - Georgie Bottriell

Evangeline Harcourt - Vara Williams

Lord Evelyn Oakleigh - Iain Steel

Elisha Whitney - Tom Williams

Billy Crocker - Chris Horn

Moonface Martin - Peter Barber

Erma - Suzanne Hall

Captain - David Anderson

Purser - Dan Hickson

Male Quartet - Dan Hickson, Adrian Hickford, Hamish McDonald, Vernon Tottle

Luke - Bob Jones

John - Dave Rowe

Henry T. Dobson - Graham Light

Sailor - Dan Hickson

Purity - Claire Crowther

Chastity - Juliet Surridge

Charity - Anne Croudass

Virtue - Louise Hodson

Barman - Dave Rowe

Girl - Rachel Parkins

FBI Agents - Alan Matheson, Colin Crimp

Reporters - Lyndsay Smith, Stephanie Rosewarne

Photographer - Claire Smith

Lady - Jacqui Beckingham


Sue Aiken, Penny Bullough, Cressida Bullough, Debbie Cleary, Steph Crockford, Jill Fitzpatrick, Pam Jones, Anne McDonald, Nicky Moore, Gill Russell, Lucy Smallwood, Emily Wilson

Charity Collection
The Alzheimer's Society - Winchester
Awards and Nominations
Nomination of Daily Echo Curtain Call award for Best supporting actor in a musical - Iain Steel


Southern Daily Echo

Toe-tapping night out with Cole

Cole Porter’s, “Anything Goes” portrays the antics of the crew and passengers onboard a cruise liner bound from New York to London.

In the tangled tale strong singer Billy Crocker (Chris Horn) stows away to woo the confused Hope Harcourt (Georgina Bottriell), who is engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Iain Steel).  Nightclub singer Reno Sweeney (Katie Hickson) and the menacing Moonface Martin (Peter Barber) aid Billy in his quest to win Hope.

There were no weak performances from the principals but the first act felt a little bland at times, with the ensemble numbers lifting the proceedings and ending on a high with a well choreographed tap number.

The second half was a different matter altogether and whipped along with Evelyn Oakleigh’s “The Gypsy In Me” being an audience favourite as he sashayed his way across the stage.

Complimented by a striking set and excellent orchestra the cast and crew delivered a light-hearted and entertaining evening.

Rebecca Case


Scene One

Cole Porter’s  Anything Goes is well known as one of his most famous and popular musicals.

Set aboard a transatlantic liner, and featuring some of the composer’s most famous songs, the show has become world famous and has many productions worldwide including a recent version at the National Theatre in London, and is currently playing to sold out audiences on Broadway, in a reworked version starring Sutton Foster and Joel Grey.

Having seen many versions of the show over the years (and directed and appeared in a production), I am well acquainted with it, and have been so used to seeing plain, flat, unfunny versions. This was certainly not the case tonight! Winchester Operatic Society has managed to produce a musical comedy which actually focuses on the comedy!

The show was fast, funny, quick witted and frothy, exactly as it should be, which made for a very enjoyable evening with a great feel-good factor. The production’s high standard came from casting people who could sing and dance, but also act, which is so often over looked when casting musicals (to my frustration !). 

Shaun Dodimead’s direction was witty and pacey, allowing all the characters to really shine. The comedy was timed to perfection, and the actors clearly understood it, so that even the characters who spoke little, did so with character and humour.


Katie Hickson as Reno Sweeney proved once again that she is perfect musical theatre material, and although opting for a subtle, more vulnerable Reno, delivered the goods during her many song and dance numbers.  Iain Steel’s scene stealing Lord Evelyn Oakleigh raised the roof with his showstopping The Gypsy’s In Me number, and managed to steal laughs with just a raise of the eyebrow or wink of the eye.  Suzanne Hall cleverly steered away from making Erma a caricature, and again stopped the show with her 11th hour number.  Chris Horn was the perfect leading man as Billy Crocker, and he struck a perfect balance with his great voice and fine acting.

The other star of the show was John Sparrow’s fabulous band.  From the moment they struck up in the overture, I knew I was in for a treat, and for once I wasn’t sat in the audience wishing that they had cut some of the dance music!


I always feel insincere writing such a positive review, but this was definitely an all-round excellent production.  It was well sung, funny, fast and genuinely acted.  Possibly the best amateur musical I have seen this year, and definitely the best show I have seen Winchester Operatic Society do in years.


Adam Myers


Hampshire Chronicle

Cast's enjoyment of Porter is infectious!

The Winchester Operatic Society’s presentation of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes at the Theatre Royal, Winchester, was like being served a refreshing glass of Bucks Fizz.

Director Shaun Dodimead took the play, based on a book by PG Woodhouse and Guy Bolton, and pulled the cast together into a shipshape production.

The action takes place on a 1930’s cruise liner. Full of fun and froth, the plot includes a misjudged engagement, gangsters on the run, eager missionaries and desperate young lovers. Who better than Porter, born a millionaire, to comment on the hypocrisies of the upper and aspiring classes? His lyrics are full of characteristically sly, acerbic wit.

Sue Aiken's wonderful set as the deck of the ship - provided the cast with ample opportunity for well timed comedy. The orchestra, on the top deck, were not visually intrusive and my only reservation was that greater care needed to be taken with sound engineering - at climactic moments in the songs the singers were fighting the orchestra.

Katie Hickson, as Reno a singing evangelist of dubious morals, brought believability to a tricky persona. Her rendition of I Get a Kick Out of You had an element of sweet wistfulness not normally associated with the number.  The object of Reno’s love, Billy (a great debut from Chris Horn), came into his own when he sang a delightfully, delicious It’s De-lovely with his own hearts desire Hope (Georgina Bottriell). Their voices were perfectly matched - so right for lovers.

All the supporting roles were played with real pizzazz. I enjoyed the Grouchoesque Elisha (Tom Williams) and the uptight Evangeline (Hope’s mother) played by Vara Williams.


Moonface Martin (Peter Barber) wore the mantle of Public Enemy no.13 perfectly. Suzanne Hall - a consummate comedienne - came close to stealing the show as his very saucy sidekick Erma.

The most side-splitting moment came when Hope’s intended, the English upper class ‘twit’, Lord Oakleigh, (Iain Steel) declares his love to Reno. The fandango they performed was unforgettable.

Choreographer Louise Hodson deserves applause for bringing off a sizzling toe- tapping finale.

Best of all, the cast’s obvious enjoyment was totally infectious. They say laughter cures all ills: the audience certainly left the Theatre Royal in fine fettle.

Jacqueline Redway Black Boy Writing Group


It’s difficult to write anything about this show except – “fabulous” – or even “absolutely fabulous”. It was a joy to see and hear.

“Anything Goes” is one of my very favourite musicals and I am very particular about its production, but this was as good as it gets. Shaun got the best out of the excellent cast. The “jokes” were all delivered properly and kept the audience laughing. Iain was outstanding as Lord Evelyn – I think the best I have seen – and Katie was a super foil in “The Gypsy” – I don’t know how she didn’t crack up, and I’d hate to see her bruises.

She was great throughout, singing and dancing with style. I think Reno is one of the best female parts and Katie really made the most of it.
Chris was a lovely Billy, his singing had that perfect 1930’s tone.

Georgina was a delightful Hope, what a pity she didn’t have more songs to go with her lovely voice. As usual, Tom and Vara were super in their characterisation, but I noticed that everyone kept in character, even when hidden in the background.

Suzanne was super – there again a lovely female role – and Peter was a very funny Moonface. It was interesting to see a different side of Dan – I assume he was only acting – and I hope he and the Captain will be very happy!! (Nice to see David at the front of the stage).
The chorus were in good voice and everyone moved on and off stage easily. The costumes were lovely and it’s so nice to see the whole cast well dressed.

I liked the fact that the libretto could be heard and was delivered with good timing. Most of the lyrics could be heard too – the Band was superb, but still managed not to drown the singers.

Lighting was good, although occasionally it wasn’t quite right at the front of the bridge – there were shadows sometime when principals were singing there. Set was great and fit the stage very well.

Anyway thanks for a super evening. I enjoyed every minute.


Margaret Fields 

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