'Anything Goes' at J.E.B. Stuart

'Anything Goes' at J.E.B. Stuart

Cappies Review

What do you get when you put together a few fallen “angels," a George Bernard Shaw impersonator, an evangelist who owns a nightclub and public enemies revered as celebrities? Mix them all up on a 1930s ocean liner and you have “Anything Goes,” Cole Porter and P.G. Wodehouse’s musical comedy, filled with rousing music and a side-splitting script.

J.E.B. Stuart’s production provided hilarious moments of comic relief as well as toe-tapping song and dance numbers. Set on the deck of the “U.S.S. Stuart,” the musical traces young Wall Street broker Billy Crocker (Prince Selkridge) as he stows away on board in pursuit of beautiful debutante Hope Harcourt (Julie Schroll), who is already engaged to an English aristocrat. With the help of Moonface Martin (Andrew Amrit Bell), the harmless Public Enemy Number 13, his side-kick Bonnie (Leyla Babaoglu) and night-club “evangelist” Reno Sweeny (Natalie Chami), all hands on deck are in for a high-seas adventure filled with romance, music and plenty of laughs.

While they sometimes had to struggle with a quirky sound system, several singers and actors were stand-outs in the show. Selkridge as Billy was sweet and charming at times, but also proved quite talented in the comedic elements. He had the audience rolling with laughter as he used different costumes and impersonations to hide his true identity. Julie Schroll had a beautiful voice and came on very strong in her duets with Billy, such as “All Through the Night.”

Andrew Amrit Bell, as the bumbling gangster, had the audience in stitches with his slap-stick antics, whiny New York accent and well-delivered humor. Although some of the ensemble numbers lacked energy and enthusiasm, Leyla Babaoglu made up for it, leading the cast with her cute accent, singing and dancing, particularly in “Let’s Step Out.” The cast often sang in nice tight harmonies.

The set, designed by Mai Pham, was a clever representation of the deck of a cruise ship. The stage crew, directed by Sarah Whitehead, was dressed in sailor suits, blending them into the cast and making them unobtrusive.

While some characters were a little flat, the cast successfully pulled off some convincing emotional scenes.

The cast and crew of “Anything Goes” put on a thoroughly entertaining show, with rollicking slap-stick comedy.

Cappies is a high school critics and awards program involving 50 schools in the Virginia, Maryland and D.C. area.