Andrew Ceglio and Briana Michaud in 'Anything Goes,' through Aug. 19 at Cabrillo Stage. (Jana Marcus)
Cabrillo Stage’s Anything Goes is explosively fun. Each character is as impressive individually as the cast is collectively. Cole Porter classic after impeccably executed Cole Porter classic reminds one how timeless his talent is, and director and choreographer Kikau Alvaro skillfully preserves and translates it for a contemporary audience.
From the moment Briana Michaud sashays onto the stage as the sizzling Reno Sweeney and unleashes her vivacious voice with “I Get a Kick Out of You,” she declares herself a performer with unrivaled gifts. Michaud becomes more captivating with each scene as she embodies the take-no-crap, high-living and high-rolling Reno, simultaneously colluding with criminals and leading her congregation of fellow passengers to riotous revival, flanked by her flock of not-so-chaste Angels.
Andrew Ceglio is perfectly charming and sincere as the lovestruck stowaway Billy Crocker. Ceglio glides between hilarious shenanigans and amorous moonlight waltzes, and is equally skilled at leaving his audience doubled over in stitches and sighing at the difficulties of unrequited love. Nina Feliciano, who plays opposite him as the debutante Hope Harcourt, is unfortunately less convincing in her role. The conflict between Hope’s imminent marriage and her love for Billy doesn’t translate well, and the character seems a bit stiff and passionless. However, Feliciano’s dance skills are obvious, and the chemistry between the two sweethearts comes alive whenever the pair dances together.
Max Bennett-Parker kills it as swarthy Public Enemy Number 13, Moonface Martin. His slapstick schtick is flawless. Although his character comes off as cuddly, he never lets the audience quite forget that, at any moment, someone could be sleepin’ with the fishes—which makes numbers “Be Like the Bluebird” all the more hilarious. Moonface’s cohort, the sailor-loving Erma, is bubbly and adorable. Anethra Moura hilariously executes the come-hither tactics of her character, and I couldn’t help but cheer, “Get it, gurl!”
Robert Coverdell is rapturous as Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, Hope Harcourt’s fiancé. He perfectly blends British breeding and boyish enthusiasm and naivety to wacky effect. Coverdell is as tall and thin as an exclamation point, which makes his main ensemble of undershirt, long boxers and tall socks held up by garters, punctuated by a rapier slung around his waist, all the funnier. His number “The Gypsy In Me” was a highlight, and I couldn’t help but marvel that such a wiry individual could sling the bodacious Reno along in a tango so effortlessly.
The supporting cast of sailors and passengers are a joy to watch, as is the budding love story between billionaire Elisha Whitney, played by Nick Bilardello, and the aging golddigger Evangeline Harcourt, played by Mindy Pedlar.
The moveable set is comprised of beautiful pieces of art deco whimsy, and the costumes are gorgeously designed. In short, Anything Goesis de-lovely and will undoubtedly leave audiences smiling and humming for days.
Friday–Sunday through Aug. 19
At Cabrillo Crocker Theater