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Sweet Charity

So, I have never seen the musical Sweet Charity and I had absolutely no idea what to expect this evening as I collected my tickets and programme before the show began.

Sweet Charity is a bittersweet love story of Charity Hope Valentine, the unlucky in love dance hall hostess. She goes from bad guy ‘Charlie’ to superstar ‘Vittorio’, finally ending with assumed good guy ‘Oscar’.

The show itself was intended to be a whimsical comedy, interspersed with vibrant songs and choreographed dance numbers. It did disappoint me somewhat, however.

The opening song ‘See Yourself’ performed by Katy Watt (Charity) saw us off to quite an exuberant start and Katy’s energy and drive did not falter for a single moment throughout.

My only point to improve upon would be timing wise, as the choreographed routines seemed a little out of sync and under rehearsed, with the song ‘There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This’ a little out of time here and there, which was a shame as her singing was so on point.

Unusually, my star of the show this evening goes to an unnamed ensemble character played by Chris Magdziarz who was utterly brilliant in ‘The Rich Man’s Frug’, an opening number to a club scene, the likes of which I have never enjoyed more. Chris was so engrossed in his moves that I simply could not tear my eyes away from him. Indeed, every time he graced the stage, I was giddy with glee at the prospect of seeing more dance moves from him.

The incredibly famous song ‘The Rhythm Of Life’ was really rather well sung by Jon Chalkley, who had a very strong and pleasing voice, his diction did just let him down a little as the lyrics were sometimes lost in the hubbub and excitement of the moment.

I must also commend Dave Smith who played the small, yet memorable role of Herman. Dave’s opening of ‘I Always Cry At Weddings’ gave me physical goosebumps and indeed this was my favourite song of the show.

My last mention of the evening has to go to Jo Candeias (Carmen) who shone through the ensemble for me this evening and really showed just how important it is to be alive and ready for anything when you aren’t the centre of attention. Her dance lines were slick and energised and she truly had me wanting to watch her every move when she was in a crowd. With such a large ensemble however, I was a little disheartened not to see the same commitment and drive from each ensemble cast member.

I must say that Sweet Charity itself has a rather sudden and not at all happy ending and, unfortunately, it came together with my general feelings of the show itself. I felt that the cast overall were a little deflated, cues a little slow and the comedy just a little mistimed and a real burst of fire and energy was needed to push through from start to finish. The show overall was quite disappointing with over the top reactions and acting making the show just a little unnaturally farcical, tearing me away from the action.

I have, however, gone home this evening with ‘If My Friends Could See Me Now’ stuck in my head, thanks to the sparky delivery by Katy Watt who really showed just how possible it is for a leading lady to stay with you on the car journey home. I very happily read through Katy’s bio in my programme when I took to my seat and do whole heartedly believe that her little girl would be very proud of just how good a job her Mum did this evening.

Sweet Charity runs from the 15 – 18 May at NST Campus, Southampton.