Death of the Critic

Guys and Dolls - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich


Originally premiering in 1950, Guys and Dolls is a show that has been performed over a thousand times on stages across the United States, winning a Tony Award along the way. The most recent performance, at Wabash College, boasted a troupe of mostly young and extraordinarily talented actors drawn both from the school itself and the community surrounded it, including a young girl and a choir director from local high schools.

The need for the actors from the community is due mostly to the fact that with this show being Guys and Dolls, and Wabash College being an all male school, women were needed for the cast. And while the Wabash students performed powerfully across the stage, the leading ladies did not fall behind. There were amazing performances from both Pierce Velderman, who played Sky Masterson, the legendary gambler coming back to his home town to visit, and Patrick Kvachkoff playing Nathan Detroit, the awkward gambler who can’t seem to change his ways. They were accompanied by the other crapshooters, clad in their pinstriped and color coded suits, each with their own distinctive personality. But their performances didn’t stop the young Elizabeth Hutson from stealing the spotlight whenever she stepped foot on stage.

Playing Adelaide, the long-term fiancé of Nathan Detroit, Hutson had to exhibit her acting chops in a variety of challenging ways, from singing, to dancing, to some very intense acting. What might be most impressive, besides her ability to nail every single high note that came her way, was her natural presence on the stage. From the audience, you could not sense a tinge of unease from the young girl, even as she stripped down for the cabaret scenes. She was perfectly comfortable within the scenes and it really showed in her ability to control the stage and the audience. During her solo about loneliness, you could feel the energy that she had, but also the soul and effort that was put into each and every line.


The duet between Nathan (Kvatchkoff) and Adelaide (Hutson) was astounding, gaining energy the more the scene progressed, with the live orchestra underneath the stage scoring it to perfection. The emotion between the two was palpable, and the soaring of the music as they sang to the packed hall only served to elevate it. The small group of talented musicians did their jobs perfectly, allowing the entire night to come together without a hitch, playing their music beautifully, but never distracting the viewer from the stage.

But even with all of this praise, to say that the show was perfect would be a lie. The most glaring fault with the play lies within the first half. The first seventy-five minutes of the show seemed to drag on and on, with sets being reused and the action slowing down. Unfortunately, this led to some people leaving during the intermission, which caused them to miss the second half of the play. In its second half, the play roared into life as acotrs and scenes raced towards the finish, with the music and action boiling over into a fourth wall breaking climax. At the peak of the show, with the gamblers within the church, they started “Don’t rock the boat” breaking forth into the audience, gesticulating wildly.

This dizzying conclusion summed up the play rather well, with the song building up from a relatively slow start, with only one person singing and dancing, before the other actors started to join in, the song and dance picking up pace until it reaches that breaking point where we can ride the wave back down to our calm conclusion. With fantastic acting, amazing music, wonderful set design, perfect choreography, and sublime costumes, this show came together out of the pieces to be possibly the best show that I have seen so far at Wabash.

(This review is based off of the November 6th, 2014 showing of Guys and Dolls at Wabash College)

This title was reviewed before the inception of our current review system and as such is not scored. We still stand by the content of our old reviews.



Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

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