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Simon says take a nostalgic romp at Naples Players

By Staff | Mar 19, 2009

It’s hard to believe they’re amateurs when you see what Naples Players have grandly done with Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes”. The production is a kick from the overture to the standing ovation.

You have to accept that the play is dated, some of the gags will make feminists hair stand on end, and a few racist, ageist, and other political correctness paeans get violated throughout the evening. But, with a modicum of tolerance, and a peck of nostalgia overtaking reason, sit back and enjoy the campy romp with one-liners galore and a return to a creaking vaudevillian plot.

Amazingly, there isn’t a bad performance among the community players cast of “thousands.” The singing is, for the most part, absolutely first rate. Mary Anne McAvoy McKerrow as Reno Sweeney must have been stolen from Broadway. Ethel Merman would be envious. This Reno belted her songs with lust and delivered her lines with a brilliant flair. And James Little, in the other lead role of Billy Crocker, kept up his end just fine.

The set is truly dazzling. It must have taken as long to build as a columned mansion here on the island. You are on board a giant cruise ship, and you can almost smell the ocean. Kudos to Matt Flynn, the technical director. The costumes also were superb. The Playbill lists the names of 30 people involved in Costume Construction. You will be impressed. A tribute to what Community Theater is all about.

Cole Porter can write songs, boy can he write. Some of the lyrics just had the audience chuckling on every other line. Some of you will be humming right along, until someone gives you an elbow in the ribs. “I Get A Kick Out Of You.” “Anything Goes,” “It’s De-Lovely,” “Easy to Love,” and “The Gypsy In Me,” among a host of other gems you will relish.

The plot, as predictable as they were back when it opened in 1934 on Broadway, unfolds with the cast enjoying themselves fully in the playful romp the whole evening is. These amateurs are contagious, and by the time the gigantic finale hits the ship with enough energy and flamboyance it almost sinks it, we know we have been thoroughly entertained. My warmest congratulations to the whole crew down there at the Naples Players.

“Anything Goes” runs until April 4th. It will be a sellout, so get your tickets fast.

Have a delightful evening with a sweet nostalgic return to a time when musicals were just fun. Call the box office at (239) 263-7990.