After a tough few years, nothing feels better than sitting among people and experiencing joy and laughter that we once may have taken for granted. And what better place to do so than the Hippodrome?
Bristol's iconic theatre has seen a number of incredible shows since casts have been back on stage, from Beauty and the Beast to the Lion King and coming this April is another iconic hit as Bristol welcomes the multi-Tony winning music 'Anything Goes'. The ‘show of the year’ is welcoming a new cast to put on another epic performance following its sold out run at the Barbican in summer 2021.
The new cast includes: WhatOnStage Award Winner Kerry Ellis, well-known and loved for her incredible performances in Wicked and We Will Rock You as Reno Sweeney and Olivier Award Winner Denis Lawson as Moonface Martin. Joining them on board is Olivier Award Winner Simon Callow as Elisha Whitney and Musical Theatre Royalty Bonnie Langford as Evangeline Harcourt.
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Last year Anything Goes smashed multiple Box Office records at the Barbican Theatre including the single highest grossing performance week for a musical in the Barbican’s 39-year history and the highest sales across a weekend for a musical, as audiences flooded through the doors for the 15-week sold out season and it aims to bring the same brilliance to Bristol.
Speaking with Bristol Live the cast shared their joy of getting back on stage after covid, Bonnie Langford said: "I've done a couple of things on stage but to be in a big musical again is an absolute thrill and a complete joy because the last couple of years have shown how missed it is to bring something live, that's happening in that moment. There's such a joy and having such an exhilarating light-hearted evening, it's quite emotional.
"The world is so dark at the moment and we do need this light, the only way to stay moderately sane is to feed that enjoyment and this gives you permission to do it"
Denis Lawson added: "people do forget, you forget you ever did anything else and now people are coming back saying 'wow' other people, that's a good thing! People have forgotten how good it can be, last year when Anything Goes opened at the Barbican - people realised, it's everything you dream of at the theatre. It's the greatest score imaginable."
Kerry Ellis shared that this was a role she didn't think she would get the opportunity to play, saying: "I mean for so many reasons it's kind of mind-blowing, I was almost waiting for the right show to be back on stage in a musical, I've been doing touring and albums but I was waiting for the right role and then this came up and it couldn't have been more perfect."
Bonnie spoke on what sets Anything Goes apart from other musicals, saying: "There are other musicals that are sung through but this is a musical comedy, it has big belly laughs, it has misunderstandings and all of that physical comedy interlaced with these beautiful songs that we all know and love and to be in the room seeing that happening, every single person has a common and individual enjoyment."
The cast perform an impressive eight shows a week and Lawson described the energy they bring as a "massive sugar rush" saying they are "taking on the mantle" of such an iconic musical.
Speaking on being on stage in Bristol Bonnie said: It's so big but you feel in contact with every member of the audience, it's so welcoming and warm." Denis added: "Frank Matcham designed many theatres and he made people's palaces, it's not threatening, it's a place of enjoyment and fun".
As well as the incredible storyline, humour and songs, Anything Goes is famed for its tap contributions, which Ellis is grateful for, telling Bristol Live: "It's been joyous to get my tap shoes on after 20 years, especially to open it in Bristol - I love Bristol and I know we're going to get a great and warm response."
Ellis said the end of act one, for her, is the epitome of the show, with the entire company being on stage for the song 'Everything Goes', "to see a cast of 30 talented people enjoying themselves will take your breath away, you are made to feel a part of the excitement."
Those who are looking for an evening of joy and magic, the cast promise that this show is just that. Ellis said: "We have had such a rough couple of years and people need that escapism, people go to the theatre to be taken away to be transported and this show does that - it's funny, it's witty, it's entertaining - you will sing along, you will tap along. I'm honoured to be a part of it".
Those who wish to experience the joy can find tickets here.
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