ONE of the most popular musicals ever written is being staged by the Rose Bowl award-winning Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society at the Theatre Royal in Bath to Saturday (May 13).

They are making a welcome and long-awaited return with Guys and Dolls, featuring a large cast of 32 local performers aged from 21 to 70 years, who hail from Bath, Bristol, Wiltshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire.

It’s fantastic to see the wealth of local talent in the area, presenting an amateur production to a hugely appreciative audience.

This fast-paced show features a host of well-known numbers including Luck Be A Lady, Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat, I’ve Never Been in Love Before and, the title song, Guys and Dolls.

The plot is simple: small-time gambler Nathan Detroit desperately needs $1,000 to set up the biggest craps game in town, while the New York police breathe down his neck.

On the other hand, neighbourhood missionary, Sarah Brown desperately needs “one dozen genuine sinners” to ensure that her mission survives closure.

To get the cash, Nathan bets Sky Masterson, the highest roller of them all, that he can’t make the next woman he sees fall in love with him, and when that lady happens to be Sarah Brown, the odds are stacked against him.

But all bets are off when Sky falls in love and whisks Sarah off to Havana before coming back to New York to face reality.

Considered by many to be the perfect musical comedy, Guys and Dolls is based on Damon Runyon's mythical stories of the New York underworld with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows.

The production is directed by Steve Blackmore, who returns to lead the creative team following his last award-winning production for BODS at the Theatre Royal Bath, Crazy for You.

The musical director is James Finbow, while the creative team is completed by choreographer Annette Wilsher, who runs the local community dance school, Bop About Dance, teaching children and adults in Bradford on Avon.

Saints and sinners combine for an unforgettable evening’s entertainment filled with a host of colourful characters including Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Harry the Horse, Benny Southstreet, Big Jule, and Nathan’s long-suffering fiancée, night club singer, Adelaide.

It’s Jane Knowles, a BODS stalwart who lives in Radstock, who ‘steals the show’ as Adelaide, giving a superbly sensitive performance as well as having a powerful singing voice.

The romantic leads are nicely played by Finn Tickel as Sky Masterson and Charlotte Hunter as Sarah Brown, while Grant McCotter as Nathan Detroit and Jane Knowles provide much of the humour.

The large cast also features Pip Knowles as Benny Southstreet, Paul Hobbs as Harry the Horse, and George Miles – who works as a Front of House Usher and Stage Door Keeper at the Theatre Royal – in the character role of Nicely-Nicely Johnson.

BODS is one of the most well-established amateur companies in the region, and, on this performance, is yet again likely to be a strong contender for the Rose Bowl Award for Best Musical Production.

To book tickets call the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or visit