Anything goes as Falkirk Operatic Society takes to town hall stage

It may have been 85 years since Anything Goes was first performed but this production by Falkirk Operatic Society was still delighting its audience in 2019.

By Jill Buchanan
Wednesday, 10th April 2019, 9:47 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th April 2019, 9:54 am

A light-hearted, comic caper, it is packed with Cole Porter songs that you’ll have heard before although perhaps never knew where they originated.

With six strong principal roles, the company is fortunate to have such a talented team to call on to take up the challenge and every one was outstanding.

This playful tale of goodies and baddies pokes fun at the aristocracy and has a liberal smattering of romance.

Set aboard the SS American which is sailing from New York to England, amongst others it is carrying American heiress Hope Harcourt (Hannah Gillies), her mother (Carol Sutherland) and her English fiancé, Sir Evelyn Oakleigh (James Cassidy). The latter role could so easily have been over played but James got the comic caricature just right and the laughs he got were testament to how the audience loved him.

Hannah’s beautiful singing voice was to the fore in All Through the Night and It’s Delovely as she hit every note.

Also on board is Hope Harcourt’s would-be suitor, Billy Crocker (Graeme Scott) who is determined to woo her away from her English knight.

He goes to great lengths to win her hand, including impersonating a sailor, a crook and a Chinese man. I’m sure that I’m not giving too much away to say that it all ends happily.

However, along the way he meets Moonface Martin, also known as public enemy No.13 (Darren Tasker) and his moll Bonnie (Shirley McNulty). Darren’s comic timing was impeccable and he belted out those big numbers, including Friendship and Be Like the Bluebird.

Shirley’s enthusiasm for her role came through time and time again and she was fabulous in Heaven Hop and Let’s Step Out.

The final piece of perfect casting was Nikki Johnstone as Reno Sweeny, the former evangalist-turned-nightclub singer.

This larger than life character filled the stage with both her personality and voice every time she appeared. Along with her Angel backing singers, she belts out those big numbers – You’re the Top, I Get a Kick Out of You, Let’s Misbehave, Blow Gabriel Blow and Take Me Back to Manhattan.

Falkirk Operatic Society last performed Anything Goes in 1998 and this production under the watchful eye of director and choreographer Judy Brown, along with musical director Jon-Luke Kirton, proves that the classic musical theatre shows never lose their appeal.


Reno Sweeny – Nikki Johnstone; Billy Crocker – Graeme Scott; Hope Harcourt – Hannah Gillies; Sir Evelyn Oakleigh – James Cassidy; Bonnie – Shirley McNultey; Moonface Martin – Darren Tasker; Mrs Harcourt – Carol Sutherland; Elijah J.Whitney – Malcolm McNulty; the Captain – Willie Cunningham.

Reporter – Susan McFarlane; Cameraman – Catriona Turk; Bishop Henry T.Dobson – Eric Brown; Ching – Grant-Scott Johnson; Ling – Andrew Tasker; Chastity – Victoria Daley; Purity – Rebecca Gillies; Virtue – Amy Sutherland; Charity – Jennifer Hughes; Sailors – Dylan Allison, Chris Brooks, Chris Hogg, Stewart McDonald, Grant-Scott Johnson, Andrew Tasker.

Ensemble – Jenni Adamson, Diane Brisbane, Alan Brisbane, Niamh Brooks, Ally Brown, Margaret Brown, Fiona Campbell, Nicola Cowan, Marion Dixon, Elizabeth Donald, Vicgtoria Gillies, Linzi MacMillan-McColl, Susan McFarlane, Ashleigh Maitland, Catriona Turk, Robert Wardrop, Elizabeth Woodford.

Anything Goes is on at Falkirk Town Hall until Saturday, April 13. Performances are nightly at 7.30pm with a 2pm Saturday matinee. Call 01324 506850 for more information.