Sweet Charity is the story of Charity Hope Valentine, an incurable optimist hoping to escape her life as a taxi dancer in New York. This hope drives her to meet famous actors and charming young men, and to her surprise, she seems to finally have met a decent match.
Despite the musical’s success, and EUSOG’s brilliant past productions, this latest play is a let-down. When small theatre companies take on established pieces, it is necessary to have something that marks this production as an individual one, and not a reiteration of a known success. It seems that EUSOG attempted to make mesh shirts and half-hearted gender bending their ‘thing’, but it did little to improve the performance.
The ensemble were out of time with one another, clearly counting their steps and recovering poorly. Though their broad New York accents were razor-sharp, they couldn’t mask the lack of energy onstage. Their voices were strong and the choreography was visually interesting, but simply delivered without enough enthusiasm. Dances were often performed with utterly straight faces that, though sometimes done intentionally, made the dancers seem utterly disinterested.
Further, musical and dance numbers ran on far too long, failing to hold onto the audience’s attention. The three-part dance sequence at the Pompeii nightclub was particularly overdrawn.
Tilly Botsford shines as Charity, however, and is the clear and deserved star of the show. Her voice is incredible, she grabs attention, and she plays Charity with great skill. She never overplays her bubbly personality to the point of falseness – she reveals a depth of feeling difficult to portray so subtly. The final song of the show was performed particularly well.
Similarly talented were Holly Marsden as Nicki (I loved her energy and her bubblegum-pink shift), Anna Philips as Daddy Brubeck (WHAT a performance, my god those lifts!), and Rory Bayliss-Chalmers, whose voice could knock a hole through a brick wall.
Perhaps it was simply a bad night for the cast. Having seen past productions by the same company, and with many of the same actors, I am confident in their abilities as performers, and am optimistic for the rest of their run this August.
Sweet Charity runs until the 10th of August – buy tickets here.
Latest posts by Lucie Vovk (see all)
- Mental health, archaeology, and representation: in conversation with Ladybones’ Sorcha McCaffrey - 18th August 2019
- Filament – Edinburgh Fringe - 14th August 2019
- Ladybones – Edinburgh Fringe - 14th August 2019