Anything Goes as ocean liner docks in Swanage

The energetic and nautical musical Anything Goes is all set to be performed at Swanage’s The Mowlem, nearly a quarter of a century after the first Swanage Musical Theatre production of the show took to the stage in 2000.

The Cole Porter classic which features songs like ‘I Get a Kick Out of You’, ‘You’re the Top’ and of course ‘Anything Goes’ will be at The Mowlem from Thursday 21st to Saturday 23rd March 2024.

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Rehearsals of Anything Goes
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Through the porthole, rehearsals for Anything Goes are in their final stages

Love triangle

Anything Goes is set aboard the ocean liner S. S. American, where evangelist turned nightclub singer Reno Sweeney is en route from New York to England.

Her pal Billy Crocker has stowed away to be near his love, Hope Harcourt, despite the fact that she is engaged to the wealthy Lord Evelyn Oakleigh.

Joining this love triangle on board the luxury liner are Public Enemy number 13, Moonface Martin and his partner-in-crime Erma.

With the help of some elaborate disguises, tap dancing sailors and a bit of blackmail, Reno and Moonface join forces to help Billy in his quest to win Hope’s heart.

Anything Goes Reno and her angels
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Reno played by Sara Morgan (centre) and her angels

Anything Goes ladies 2024
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The ladies who lunch on liners

“Fabulous costumes”

Karen Woolley is directing the show and although she’s not performing this time, she played Hope Harcourt in the Swanage Musical Theatre Company production in 2000. Karen said:

“It was quite a time ago, but I do remember how fabulous the costumes were. We had a great time and two of the barber shop singers in the 2000 production, Dave George and Steve Dumball are performing the same roles this year.

“Julia Gadenne played the star role of Reno in 2000 and she’s still involved in our performances although, sadly, she couldn’t be in the show this time.”

Karen Woolley in Anything Goes in 2000 at The Mowlem
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Karen Woolley as Hope Harcourt in the 2000 production of Anything Goes

Anything Goes Swanage musical theatre performance in 2000
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Performing Anything Goes on stage at The Mowlem in 2000

“Heart warming musical”

This time the show promises to be just as good with amazing costumes and impressive stage scenery including the deck of a huge ocean liner that will be hoisted into The Mowlem on Saturday 16th March 2024, along with all the other scenery and props.

Karen said:

“The ocean liner is very impressive and has been made by friends of the society. It’s been a real community effort, especially on the carpentry skills front!

“And there’s not just the costumes and scenery but also all the live music, singing and dancing to enjoy. I don’t think I’ve ever choreographed so many musical numbers.

“It’s a feelgood, cheerful, heart warming musical – there’s so much doom and gloom in the news – so I’d really encourage people to have a night out at the theatre, enjoy themselves and have some fun instead.

“Swanage has so much talent – we have our stellar performers but we also have some new people in main parts – it’s so nice to see such fresh talent emerging!”

Anything Goes Swanage musical theatre performance in 2000
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Hello sailors in 2000

Sailors in Anything Goes Swanage Musical Theatre 2024
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And the sailors for the 2024 production

More feelgood news

With so much going on at The Mowlem, the arts hub trustees have been able to share some more good news.

The dated Community Room in the building is to get a £100,000 makeover which includes updating the decor, refurbishing the kitchen, new furniture and improving the technical equipment, to help the room better serve the needs of local groups and events.

Those funding the refurbishment include Swanage Town Council and the De Moulham Trust, Talbot Village Trust, Caring As One Charity and other individual donors.

Work begin on Monday 15th April 2024 and will be completed for an open event on Saturday 1st June 2024.

Further information

  • The performances of Anything Goes are at The Mowlem in Shore Road, Swanage at 7.30 pm on Thursday 21st, Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd March 2024, with a matinee performance at 2 pm on the Saturday
  • To book tickets go to The Mowlem website

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