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Clwyd Theatr Cymru in Mold presents classic musical Guys and Dolls

A relatively new breed of ‘actor musician’ will take to the Clwyd Theatr Cymru stage this evening in a new version of Guys and Dolls. JO HENWOOD talks to Ben Fox, in rehearsal for his role as gambler Nathan Detroit, whose bet with Sky Masterton soon rocks the boat.

Actor-musician is the term used to describe any multi-talented performer who can not only portray characters, sing and dance but also play one or more musical instruments to a very high standard.

The pick of the country’s crop will start treading the boards in Mold tonight in Peter Rowe’s version of the 1950’s hit musical Guys and Dolls..

Rowe, who directed Clwyd’s Wok’n’Roll panto Aladdin, is giving what has been described as Broadway’s best musical the same all-in treatment.

Ben Fox, who plays Nathan Detroit and the trumpet, said: “There is no orchestra. There are 22 of us in the cast and we perform every aspect of the musical.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a version of Guys and Dolls where the actors, sing, dance, act and play all the music on stage.

“It’s a massive challenge but Peter and musical director Greg Palmer would not have set foot near the show if they didn’t know that they could create the big sound.”

Fox thinks the success of the show, which was revived in London’s West End in 2005 and on Broadway in 2009, lies in the strength of the script, by Damon Runyon.

“It’s brilliant – it’s sharp, witty and nothing is wasted.

“The words ease subtly into a song which then segues naturally back to the storyline.”

Guys and Dolls is about the underbelly of New York life. Its stars are gamblers, petty criminals, hoods and hustlers who haunted the bars, card games and pool halls around Times Square.

The story begins when Sky Masterson hits town and falls for a bet with Nathan Detroit, a small time gambler, that he can take any girl he wants to Havana. Hit songs include Guys and Dolls, Luck Be A Lady, and Sit Down, You’re Rocking The Boat

“Guys and Dolls is a marriage between theatre and life,” adds Fox. “The characters are the city’s low-life – strippers, con men, grifters, gamblers – but they are real people and you believe they exist.”