Anyone Can Whistle
Rating: ★★★
Venue: Southwark Playhouse
Cast: Kathryn Akin, Jordan Broatch, Samuel Clifford, Shane Convery, Teddy Hinde, Hana Ichijo, Danny Lane, Marisha Morgan, Chrystine Symone, Nathan Taylor, Renan Teodoro, Jensen Tudtud and Alex Young 

Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents’ 1964 musical is a political satire about conformity and the ostracisation of those considered ‘other’ in society. Set in a fictional town where the government controls everything, even the miracles, this fast paced and off-the-wall musical is as hilarious as it is subversive.

Anyone Can Whistle
is most famous for completing just nine performances on Broadway before ending it's very short-lived run. It first opened on Broadway in 1964 with legend, Angela Lansbury among the cast. It's also the first revival of a Stephen Sondheim musical since his death, earlier this year; so it was always going to be special

I think it's important to go into this production with an open mind. It's renowned for being utterly bonkers and completely whimsical...and for being a show you either love, or you hate. My three star review reflects that, because I'm still undecided as to which side I'm on.

It's both witty and comical, and Alex Young shines in the role of Cora Hoover Hopper; providing many laugh out loud moments. However, this show requires someone with a certain kind of humour. And several audience members had left at the interval, as it really is that divisive

The show "tells the story of a corrupt mayoress who fakes a miracle to revitalize her bankrupt town… and the ill-fated romance between the rational nurse out to expose the fraud and the easy-going doctor determined to enjoy the chaos it brings". 

There is no doubt that the cast are ridiculously talented; but what is most captivating about the production is the music. Stephen Sondheim constantly reminds us why he's so well-loved. "There Won't Be Trumpets" and "Everybody Says Don't" are the stand out tracks from the show, in my opinion. 

The set is simplistic, but the costumes are bright, colourful - and make you feel as though you're watching a children's TV show; which completely matches the bonkers nature of the show.

It's worth noting that if you aren't a fan of audience interaction, it may be best to avoid the front row of this production. I don't want to spoil too much, but you'll be in for a treat if audience interaction is something you enjoy.

The cast is incredibly inclusive, which is one of the selling points of the show for me. There are several trans and non-binary actors and characters within the production, which is the direction theatre casting should be taking, finally.

I think the show is definitely worth a watch, if only to witness a show that may not appear in London again for a while. The production is a lot of fun, and one of Sondheim's hidden treasures that I hope we see more of in the future.

You can buy tickets to Anyone Can Whistle at Southwark Playhouse, London, here: ANYONE CAN WHISTLE TICKETS

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