REVIEW: Anything Goes with Sutton Foster on DVD and Blu-Ray

REVIEW: Anything Goes with Sutton Foster on DVD and Blu-Ray

It's time to review the Blu-ray release of the 2021 London production of Anything Goes, starring Sutton Foster, brought to us by Liberator Film Studios. This release is part of Liberator's Broadway collection, which includes physical media versions of popular shows like 42nd Street, An American in Paris, and Kinky Boots. Let's dive in and see how this particular release stands out.


Anything Goes: The Musical (★★★☆)

The verdict: The London production, filmed live at the Barbican Centre, is a near-replica of the 2011 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival - a joyous celebration providing much-needed escapism to the golden age of Broadway. The Blu-Ray release is excellent, fixing some of the issues the cinema release had, but unfortunately has no special features to incentivize buyers to go physical over digital streaming. We rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

Reuniting Broadway director Kathleen Marshall and leading lady Sutton Foster, London's Anything Goes is another successful Broadway import filmed by Austin Shaw's Stage2View and Howard Panter's Trafalgar Entertainment. They previously collaborated on the magnificent capture of 2018's The King and I with Kelli O'Hara.

The London staging is a replica of the 2011 Broadway revival, with some minor adjustments, such as the costume design, which is better in this incarnation. Producers even secured the original Broadway revival's star, Sutton Foster, after originally announced leading lady Megan Mullally departed the production early in rehersals.



The plot of Anything Goes is a classic, Golden Era romantic musical set on an ocean liner, with a catchy score by Cole Porter. What makes Anything Goes stand out is the epic feel-good choreography by Kathleen Marshall and slapstick skits by P.G. Wodehouse, making this show a crowd-favorite that's still relevant 90 years after its Broadway premiere.

Opening for a limited engagement at London's Barbican Centre after two years of a global pandemic, Anything Goes was the right show at the right time. London critics fell in love with the production, showering it with endless 5-star reviews and especially highlighting Foster, the real crown jewel of the production. When the revival went back into the Barbican in 2022 with a new star, it wasn't as successful. While it could be Foster drawing the large crowd in 2021, it might also be the need for escapism we all felt during the pandemic.

And that is exactly what is presented in this 140-minute capture of Anything Goes - pure escapism wrapped in extravagant dance numbers, classic musical showstoppers, and one glowing star carrying this joyous production.



Liberator Film Services and MVD Visual produced the DVD and Blu-Ray transfer of the film, in the same format as their other musicals on home media releases (42nd StreetAn American in Paris, and Kinky Boots), with both classified as "Region 0" and playable worldwide.

The Blu-Ray features an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1, a great-looking transfer that has perfect detail levels on the newly designed costumes by Jon Morrell and serviceable set design by Derek McLane. The video has a mix of wide shots and close-ups, with film director Ross MacGibbon (Kinky Boots42nd StreetAn American in Paris) mostly opting for the latter.

While this decision offers precise renderings of the sets and props, more wide shots of the dance numbers would have helped infuse the capture with more of the energy that was on the Barbican stage, which is often missing in some of the show-stopping numbers.



The Blu-Ray features two audio tracks - DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 2.0, both of which offer excellent fidelity. The stereo track tends to be focused and provides a strong consistent sound coming from the pit with an excellent mix. The surround track definitely lets viewers hear more of the orchestra, including more spacious details of the tap dance numbers but is definitely a bit diffused at times.

Both will offer viewers a great experience, completely fixing the sound issues the cinema release with plagued with (complaints were mostly around an uneven mix with a very low sound from the orchestra). The Blu-Ray version offers no major mix issues in either track and the cast is nicely balanced with the orchestra.



The Liberator Films collection of musicals is an impressive one, thanks in large part to the excellent captures by Stage2View. The quality of their home releases is top-notch, both in terms of video and audio. However, it is disappointing that there are no bonus features and the title menus are very basic.

This is particularly unfortunate for the Blu-Ray release of Anything Goes, as the musical can be streamed online through PBS and the BBC iPlayer. In their future releases, Liberator should take a cue from other studios, such as the upcoming Heathers the Musical Blu-Ray release, which features a 2-disc Special Edition packed with bonus features.

Nevertheless, we are grateful that these masterful recordings are receiving the physical release treatment, allowing Broadway fans to cherish these magnificent performances for years to come. Sutton Foster's Tony Award-winning portrayal is one that deserves to be immortalized in the highest quality possible. The Liberator Films collection is a must-have for any musical theater enthusiast, and Anything Goes is a solid addition despite its lack of bonus features.

Anything Goes is now available on DVD & Blu-Ray from Liberator Studios.