m_Chichester Cathedral

Guys and Dolls

Whatever you think about electronic cigarettes, they were certainly a boon for the recent Guys and Dolls production at Chichester Festival Theatre. Taking us back to the smoke filled gambling dens of New York, they were well employed, along with the excellent costumes and a really clever set for the small”in-the-round” stage.
Yet again, we were treated to an excellent show from our regional theatre. The show was generally well cast, with the show stolen completely by Sophie Thompson as Adelaide who you really felt for. She made you laugh and smile by throwing her all into the performance & totally bringing Adelaide to life.
In the past I have been to performances of Guys & Dolls in the West End and own a video of the Frank Sinatra film (yes, I am that old), so it is fair to say that I am a bit of a connoisseur of the musical and I was prepared to find this show a little lacking compared to Hollywood and West End versions, but I have to report that this was my favourite production of the tale to date.
The whole experience at Chichester Festival Theatre is really very civilised. It is only half an hour from the cottage, you can park right next to the theatre. There is a restaurant & cafe and, as the theatre is set in a park, you can either enjoy a delightful view from your restaurant table or even take a picnic to the park. We picknicked ahead of Amadeus in the Summer and it was most enjoyable, apart from feeling a tad guilty about drinking wine and eating delicious food whilst people trained around us for the up-coming rugby season… we soon got over that though!
It was a little more Autumnal this time, however. after the delights of the first half of Guys and Dolls, we nipped out to stretch our legs and decided to try the local sparkling wine Nyetimber. This was seriously impressive and if you have not yet tried it, I would really recommend it and would suggest that it could easily be mistaken for fine champagne in a blind test. We will certainly be looking to add it to the cellar at Climping cottage.
Suitably fueled we returned for the second half of the show which did not disappoint. At one stage, I realised that I was sitting forward on the edge of my seat and simply grinning!
It was clear that the audience had enjoyed the performance just as much, as there was a very swift and lengthy standing ovation at the end of the show. In my experience a standing ovation is not a given here and was a definite a testament to the superb production, direction and entertainment on the night. There was a particularly warm reception for Sophie’s bow and, if I am not mistaken, I think that she may have shed a tear of happiness. Happy people all round then!
As it turned out, most of Climping must have gone home happy that night as we were not alone. Our neighbours and guests had also chosen to attend the show that night.
Having had some wonderful experiences at Chichester Festival Theatre over the summer we decided that it was about time that we became friends of the theatre and have since done this. With Guys & Dolls the theatre continued to punch way beyond its weight and we look forward to that continuing into the Winter Season and will let you know how we get on.