Review: Bolsover Drama Group’s winning gamble

Pint-sized punters make the cutest gang of gamblers you ever did see in their oversized jackets and trilby hats.

Small they may be but they put a big effort into energising the story of high-rollers staking their fortunes on the throw of a dice.

Characters like Harry the Horse and Big Jule summon up the vibe of hustlers on the mean streets of New York in neat examples of characterisation by Bolsover Drama Group’s youth section.

The company is performing a junior version of that well-loved musical Guys and Dolls at The Bolsover School until Saturday. Unless you know the show inside out, you’d be hard-pressed to suss out where the cuts have been made.

All the favourite elements of the adult version are there - romance between ace gambler and uptight mission doll, the nightclub singer with a terrible cold and her saucy backing dancers - along with classic numbers like Take Back Your Mink, Luck Be A Lady and Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat.

Callum Priest is cast as high-roller Sky Masterson and Leah Bromley as leading lady Sarah Brown who revolutionises the life of the gambler. They give convincing characterisations, project their lines well and maintain their tricky American accents.

Sophie Clifford proves to be one of the rising stars of the youth section in a commendable characterisation of excitable, shrill-voiced and highly comical Miss Adelaide. bride-in waiting for 14 years and a foxy nightclub singer. Equally praiseworthy is Lochlan Tebb who gives a confident performance as the cool dude gambler and reluctant bridegroom Nathan Detroit.

Nathan Sawyer brings huge energy to the role of Lt Branagan and Holly Stothard shines as the singing missionary Miss Abernathy whose solo More I Cannot Wish You is one of the vocal highlights.

Loud-checked suits for the gamblers, scarlet dresses for the nightclub dancers and crisp choreographed scenes for both make Guys and Dolls Jr a sight to behold.

Director Donna Knowles, producer Wendy Blunt, musical director Dawn Shearwood and choreographers Connor Brown and Lianne Brunt have staked their reputation on this ambitious show and the 30-strong troupe do them proud.

Last night\s first performance went like a dream with a large audience to cheer on the kids as they sweltered in suits and hats under the lights on a very warm evening.

The production is running until Saturday, July 19, at 7.15pm with a Saturday matinee at 2pm.

GAY BOLTON