Sweet Charity follows the misadventures of love encountered by the gullible and guileless Charity Hope Valentine, a woman who always gives her heart and her dreams to the wrong man. Cy Coleman’s score features favourite hits such as Hey, Big Spender; If My Friends Could See Me Now and The Rhythm of Life.
Sweet Charity Press Reviews:
Best of all there’s Mark Umbers (once the definitive Freddie Eynsford-Hill) as the nervy tax accountant Oscar – love strikes in the first and only Broadway Act One closer set in a jammed elevator, played here like a snappy Mike Nichols and Elaine May sketch – and Josefina Gabrielle as the most cynically world weary prostitute.
Michael Coveney for Whatsonstage.com (www.whatsonstage.com)
Who would have thought that a scruffy, unsubsidised fringe theatre in south London would be giving Broadway a lesson in how to stage classic American musicals? But that is the happy fate and extraordinary feat of the ever-enterprising Menier Chocolate Factory.
The Menier has discovered a winning seasonal formula. You take a non-vintage Broadway musical based on a European movie, cast and choreograph it to the hilt, and invest it with a wild humour. It worked with La Cage aux Folles and it pays off just as handsomely with this joyous revival of a 1966 show, with a score by Cy Coleman, drawn from Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria.
Michael Billington for Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)
There’s excellent work around Outhwaite. Annalisa Rossi and Ebony Molina stand out among Charity’s workmates. They’re a delightfully jaded troupe — “Who dances? We defend ourselves to music,” says one — and Stephen Mear’s choreography is full of original, counterintuitive touches.
Henry Hitchings for Evening Standard (www.thisislondon.co.uk)
This is the heterosexual version of La Cage, staffed by equally resilient but even more downtrodden, world-weary sex workers. Matthew White’s production is rooted in a tough sense of reality, and although Tamzin Outhwaite’s punchy Charity may lack an essential vulnerability, she’s also quite clearly one of life’s survivors. So are the wonderful pairing of Josefina Gabrielle and Tiffany Graves as her confidantes and fellow hostesses. Their rendition of Baby Dream Your Dream, about dreams that won’t in fact be realised, could be plucked direct from Chicago, and not just because Gabrielle and Graves have respectively previously played the leads in the current London production of that show.
Mark Shenton for TheStage (www.thestage.co.uk)
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