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Anything Goes

23 September 2015 | 4:38 pm | Danielle O'Donohue

"Caroline O'Connor was born to play Reno Sweeney."

Caroline O'Connor was born to play Reno Sweeney, the toe-tapping, sermonising night club singer aboard the SS American in Anything Goes.

It's the kind of star turn that will hopefully remind the international star why she should come home to perform more often. Charged with the playful songs of Cole Porter, including You're The Top; FriendshipBlow, Gabriel, Blow and the absolutely show-stopping first act finale featuring the title song, O'Connor's nimble feet almost outshine her pipes. Mercifully her leading man, Alex Rathgeber proves up to the task of playing alongside such a star. The rest of the cast have their moments. Todd McKenney's Lord Evelyn is the very picture of an inbred, English fop while Gerry Connolly manages to do a lot with a little. Occasionally an accent slips, or the acting gets a little too over the top but this is supposed to be silly fun not Opera Australia's usual tragic melodrama. It's just a shame that in 2015, shows such as this still rely on outdated cultural stereotypes of "the East" when some minor changes would make the ending far more palatable to modern audiences. Otherwise though, the exhilaration of watching O'Connor lead the entire ensemble through the rigorous tap-dancing show pieces should delight both musical theatre fans and opera lovers in the mood for something light.