By Robert W. Plyler
ALLEGANY - All the vivid characters of Damon Runyon and all the wonderful music of Frank Loesser are on the stage of Allegany-Limestone Central School, as the Olean Community Theatre presents ''Guys and Dolls.''
The company has clearly had a great time in doing this show, and the audience is treated to a great time, because of it.
The show, with a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, follows the classical style which has been around for millennia: there are two pairs of lovers, one a ''sacred'' or ''pure'' love, the other a ''profane'' or comic love.
The pure lovers are a beautiful young officer in a Salvation Army-like organization in the New York City of the Roaring Twenties, and Sky Masterson, a professional gambler whose name comes from his willingness to bet any among of money. Sky makes a bet that he can convince any woman in the city to go on a vacation with him to Havana, Cuba, which was then a Las Vegas-style mecca. His fellow better chooses the straight-laced Sister Sarah, and sky successfully gets her to go on the trip.
Once there, he realizes her true nature, and can't bring himself to take advantage, so he denies the bet and forfeits the money.
The comic lovers are Nathan Detroit, another ''lowlife gambler,'' who has been engaged for 14 years to the beautiful, ditsy Miss Adelaide, who dances nightly in a club called the Hot Box.
There are floating crap games and passion-driven mission sermons, and a whole lot of singing and dancing and wonderful fun.
Singing honors go to Ardyth R.Van Scoy, as sister Sarah, who has a lovely, pure top register, but can toss out a Broadway belt when it's called for.
David Campbell is a bit nice as the questionable Masterson, but he looks nice and wins us over with personality plus.
Talia Herdman was a riot as the energetic Miss Adelaide. The fact that they had her made up to resemble Lucille Ball made a Jamestown Critic especially sit up and take notice.
Nathan H. Bell rounded out the central quartet as Nathan Detroit, and he also did the role soundly.
A special shout out is due to Eric Van Druff, for his share in an excellently-done ''Fugue for Tinhorns'' which begins the action, and especially for a spirit-enlightening ''Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat.''
I believe William Steffan and Mark Lungerhaussen were his compatriots in the Fugue.
Director Minna Bidanes kept a full stage moving and constantly looking new and natural, and deserves a major hand of her own.
Choreographer Laurie Donner skipped every cliche which has become attached to this show and gave us movement which was both fresh and entertaining, yet was easily within the grasp of a cast which were largely not trained dancers.
The orchestra conducted by Ruth Fuller made it all even better.
This is community theater, it's not Broadway in the Woods, but it's a lot of fun and shows a lot of creativity and talent Bravo!
''Guys and Dolls'' repeats tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Allegheny-Limestone Central School.