As an extremely difficult to pronounce volcano was madly erupting in the country of Björk’s birth, I jumped on board the S.S. American to chat about Whitehorse’s upcoming production of ‘Anything Goes’.

‘Anything Goes’ is shaped around a ship, the S.S American on it’s journey from New York to England, carrying an unusual and comedic group of passengers.
Amongst them are a gangster (Moonface Martin), a wealthy debutante and her mother (Hope and Evangeline Harcourt), a nightclub singer (Reno Sweeny), and a wealthy New York businessman and his stowaway assistant (Elisha Witney and Billy Crocker). Hijinks ensue as love reignites, criminals hide and identities are mistaken.
So James and Tamara, thanks for stepping away from Captain duties, could you tell me a little bit about why you chose to co-anchor this project…
We have worked this way on a number of musicals over the past two years, having choreographed for St Michaels Grammar School, and Quirky Productions’ ‘Zanna Don’t’. With numerous scenes and routines to block, having both of us working on the show allows multiple rehearsals to take place at the same time.
 
Tell me about working with Jeremy Bailey-Smith, the double barrelled name holder, with the double barrelled job title of set and costume design.
 
Jeremy has been a gem to work with. The three of us had numerous meetings, bringing all our individual ideas and visions of the show together and then Jeremy took everything on board and has created stunning costumes to complement his wonderful set design.
 
Jeremy, how do you find working with two directors, is it confusing at all?
 
From the outset we’ve made sure that we’ve always ensured we communicate with each other on a regular basis.  Now we’re at a point where both Tamara and James can trust the design decisions that I make.  We’re not afraid to disagree in order to get the show right! The positives far outweigh the challenges, we’ve all been on the same page for a long time and there is no doubt that the visual look of ‘Anything Goes’ is exactly what we’ve all been working towards.  The challenge has been remembering to tell both directors what is going on – thank goodness for ‘reply all’ on emails!
What about the overall look? How will you put your ‘stamp’ on the show?
I love the 30’s and the Art Deco period, so it’s been great being able to work with a period which I’m passionate about.  I’m also a stickler for details and love the detail being the designer can afford.  So hopefully, when people see the show they notice the details in the design which will evoke the glamour of the 1930’s.  Anything Goes is a classic and pure piece of Music Theatre, the audience needs to enjoy themselves and be able to be taken into another world – my hope is that I’ve helped to visually create the world in which they can escape to for a couple of hours.
What about the cast? How has the relationship worked during this show?
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being able to talk to the cast about their costumes and listen to their feedback to find something that we all feel comfortable and happy in.  There’s been some hilarious moments during costume fittings – awkward silences when everyone knows the costume is wrong and looks awful but no one will say so – we’ve now created a relationship where we can admit when things look terrible – after all we all know that a performer’s main concern is how good they look on stage!
Speaking of cast, Rachel Juhasz chooses this moment to peep through the porthole and steer my course to the performance side of the show… So Rachel, What made you want to come on board with the show?
Well I was immediately attracted to the show simply because it is a jazz age musical, a personal favourite of mine, but also because I’m a huge Cole Porter fan.  In fact this is the third Cole Porter show I’ve been in… I even did High Society twice!
What’s a few fond moments you have had so far with the cast?
I just love the cast. Seriously…am I not the luckiest girl in the world to have  duets in this show with three of the most talented and wonderful boys on the theatre scene: Nathan Toovey, James Cutler AND Tony ‘Bones’ Burge?  It’s a dream come true!
Absolutely, I feel completely jealous! But tell me about how your portrayal of the character is unique to you?
Reno is such a well known role that it’s quite difficult to try to consider her as anything but larger than life, flamboyant and brassy.  The main thing I want to do is give her a little more light and shade, show off a gentler side to Reno.  I’m going for a dryer, sultrier and sophisticated version. 
So, just to deviate from the business end of things, what’s something that people may not realise about you?
Jeremy: For me, I get just as nervous as the cast on an opening night. The design of the show is my performance…As a designer I guess people don’t also know that we secretly like being told that our ‘performance’ was great.  
Rachel: I just cross my fingers and hope for the best when performing… and umm…I can’t do the splits!
A big thanks to Jeremy, Rachel, Tamara and James for their responses… Remember what was said on international waters, stays on international waters… Get down to Whitehorse before the ships sails off into the sunset forever!
 
Anything Goes:
Music and Lyrics by COLE PORTER
Original Book by P.G. WODEHOUSE & GUY BOLTON and HOWARD LINDSAY & RUSSEL CROUSE
New Book by TIMOTHY CROUSE & JOHN WEIDMAN
Co-Director & Co-Choreographer – Tamara Finch and James Rooney
Musical Director – Tom Ryan
Set and Costume Design – Jeremy Bailey-Smith
Lighting Design – Stelios Karagiannis

From 15 May until 29 May 2010
Ticket bookings
9262 6555 or online at  The Whitehorse Centre

Early bird tickets on sale now
Adult $42, Concession & Groups (15+) $38, Children (Under 15) $30, Family (2 Adult + 2 Children) $125
Venue: The Besen Centre,  87 – 89 Station St, Burwood, Mel Ref 61 C5

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