Sweet Charity

Tue 11th – Sat 15th November 2014

reviews

Gaia Fay Lambert

at 17:51 on 12th Nov 2014

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Superb choreography, great acting and incredible vocals, Sweet Charity was certainly a performance to remember. A highly ambitious project, the few flaws in the show typically arose from the more demanding aspects of the production, which will hopefully be perfected across the show’s run.

The choreography in the show had to be seen to be believed. With extensive scenes featuring numerous dancers, it’s difficult to believe that this show was put together in a matter of weeks. The 30+ dancers had an incredible visual impact, and I was amazed that everyone remembered what they should be doing and that no one fell off stage! The only issue was that the fact the dancing was so good and the choreography so intricate made it really obvious when some dancers were slightly out of sync. However, this did not happen often, mostly just in the Pompeii Club scene, which wasn’t surprising given the number of dancers on stage, and other than one or two moments was absolutely mind blowing in terms of choreography and skill. The tiered set really helped to add complexity to the show, meaning there were several different layers of action going on at once. This was particularly striking in the dance scenes.

Rosalind Peters was an extremely strong lead – her performance as the eponymous Charity was impeccable and endearing throughout. She was well supported by Tom Beavan, Caroline Sauter and Sarah Mercer, who played her boyfriend and best friends respectively. All the principles shone in their solos, but the most powerful moments arose from group performances, where vocal harmonies were invariably perfect. The scenes with the dance-hall girls were often extremely strong, showing the gritty nature of the job. The performance of Big Spender were particularly enthralling, showing the darker side to what is typically seen as quite a glitzy song.

One of the highlights of the show was George Longworth’s performance, first as Vittorio Vidal then as Daddy Brubeck. His vocals were excellent and his comic acting truly impressive. One of my favourite scenes throughout was the Rhythm of Life church, with its manic hippie congregation creating a mesmerising whirlwind of people around Longworth.

Aside from a few technical issues and some synchronicity issues with the dancers and the live band, which will most likely be ironed out after another performance or two, the show was absolutely excellent. Bringing interesting twists to what may have been a somewhat out-dated show, and taking several ambitious risks, this is definitely a show worth seeing.

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