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Published July 15 2010

Play review: 'Anything' goes for broke

It doesn’t teach you anything about yourself. It doesn’t make a profound statement about the human condition. It doesn’t inspire great feats of virtue.

Trollwood Performing Arts School’s production of “Anything Goes” just entertains, and does so rather swimmingly.

Catchy Cole Porter tunes, fun dance, good timing and a joke about every .25 milliseconds. What’s not to love?

“Comedy’s hard to do and pull it off, and they’re pulling it off,” Tom Nelson said during intermission at Wednesday evening’s opening of this year’s mainstage musical, the second opening at Trollwood’s new south Moorhead location.

Nelson was right. And it’s particularly difficult to do at 90 mph, about the pace at which “Anything Goes” moves.

“Anything Goes” features Porter’s music in a big show-tune style as it tells the story of mixed-up love and identities aboard a luxury cruise liner headed from New York to England.

Allegra Berglund plays naughty (but nice enough) nightclub singer Reno Sweeney with confidence and attitude, and she can sing, too. On “Anything Goes” she definitely gets her Ethel Merman on.

And, on that same number, the cast turns in some not-flawless but pretty stinking impressive, tap dancing much to the appreciation of the crowd.

Trevor Larson plays the over-the-top, wildly silly Lord Evelyhn Oakleigh to great effect. He’s genuinely funny as the empty-brained British aristocrat, flailing about the stage, an oblivious, dorkish ball of energy.

Kelly Beyer, a social worker from Fargo, was enjoying the show, calling it “entertaining” and “engaging” at intermission.

“Our girls were tap dancing along to the music,” she said.

It’s a bit troubling to hear high school (or recent high school grads) engage in some (more or less) lightweight suggestive humor. In one part, Reno expresses frustration that Billy Crocker had never groped her despite being alone with her in a taxi cab numerous times.

In another place, Oakleigh confesses to an illicit sexual exploit while in China.

But most of the humor is harmless enough, and much of if is quite funny.

At one point, a character is looking for Cheeky, her dog. She tells the captain she can’t find her “Little Cheeky,” to which he responds that it is right next to her little nosey.

“Anything Goes” had only one mission Wednesday night, and that was to leave the audience with a lot of tapping toes and smiling faces.

Mission accomplished.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734