Guys and Dolls

Marina Prior and Lisa McCune
Last weekend I went to see Guys and Dolls.  I had no idea it was such a good show.  I remember it was on when I was a kid, so I figured it might have been written in the late fifties or early sixties – definitely pre-Beatles or Buddy Holly even if it chronologically coincided with either if you know what I mean.  In fact it premiered in 1950 (if my memory from last week’s trip to Wikipedia doesn’t desert me).

My guess is that the show couldn’t be staged from around 1969 till sometime around now because the sexual politics are sufficiently traditional that their representation would not have been tolerated by a sufficiently large number of people that it would have ruined the show for enough people that it would have been a commercial failure.

Now we’re a bit more mature, I think that people can accept the representation of those sexual politics without contesting it – as a representation of another era even if most people in the audience would also know that things are different today.

Anyway, perhaps others disagree.

To quote from Wikipedia “The show stars Lisa McCune, Marina Prior, Garry McDonald, Ian Stenlake, Shane Jacobson and Magda Szubanski, and is playing at the Princess Theatre.”

Magda was good fun, but not as great as she can be, Garry McD was enjoyable but I’m not much of a fan, Ian Stenlake was very good. Lisa McCune – well I like Lisa McCune (I think I should have added that to Tim Watt’s ‘guilty pleasures’ challenge from a few weeks ago – I think she’s not supposed to be cool, but I think she is.)  She has a nice voice – so long as it’s amplified as it’s quite sweet and true, but not strong.  Marina Prior was a standout.Great fun as a comedy actress and damn good, strong singing.

Go and see it if you can.  It’s very well put together, very enjoyable, and a great look at a world which is now a full sixty years ago, about a time which is eighty years ago.  They did things differently there.

On at the Princess Theatre till it stops.  Well worth it.

Postcript – Leslie Katz has just sent this great YouTube of the duet Sue Me, which was well sung by Gary McDonald and Marina Prior, but not as brilliantly as this pair.

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15 years ago

A nice version of “Sue Me”:

15 years ago

Ahh, but did you hear the ABC FM’s live broadcast of Lucia di Lammermoor from the big shell last night NG?

James Farrell
James Farrell
15 years ago


Look out for a review of Lucia on Troppo next week, Colette.

15 years ago

My guess is that the show couldnt be staged from around 1969 till sometime around now..

Well, if you call the late eighties “sometime around now”. Ricky May played Nicely Nicely in an Australian production and he died in 1988.

Greeensborough Growler
Greeensborough Growler
15 years ago

I reckon every High School would have performed it at some stage in the last 40 years.

Not to mention the Amateur Productions.

You ought to get out more often.

Don Wigan
Don Wigan
15 years ago

Greenie’s right. It goes back quite a bit earlier than you guessed -certainly well before the late 50s.

As a 20th anniversary wedding treat, my parents had a night out watching the movie of Guys and Dolls (had Marlon Brando as Sky and Stubbie Kaye as Nicely Nicely), which must have been 1956. Given that movies are usually a few years after the Broadway release, I’d guess the date to be about 1948.

The story, taken from Damon Runyon’s hilarious short stories, goes back even earlier, and was probably set in the 20s.

So the male/female values would reflect that. Nevertheless, the story is fun and the music is excellent.