By Neil Simon
Directed by Kris Stewart and Maureen Bowra
Produced by Alex Woodward
Season: until February 10. Bookings:
Dreamy…Dazzling…Delightful. These are just some of the words that spring to mind when contemplating the Opening Night of Understudy Productions’ Sweet Charity starring Brisbane’s own Naomi Price (right).
What the classic film lacked in pizazz and spunk was made up for in this scintillating production. With a nod to Bob Fosse’s timeless choreography and vision, the cast and creative team whirled their way through the story, sometimes literally – and with ample amounts of pony tail twirling.
Whilst there was no Shirley McLain nor Ricardo Montalbán gracing our presence last night, the cast fell nothing short of all star in quality. Following the hapless story of Charity Hope Valentine in her quest for real love, the audience is taken for a ride through the various, and sometimes nefarious, streets of New York. From the Fandango Ballroom where Charity works as a Dance Hall Hostess, to the YMCA with a dodgy elevator, to a questionable spot under a Manhattan bridge, all spoke volumes of the soul of a City, brimming with life and colourful characters.
Speaking of colourful characters, some of the actors who really stood out and shone were Andy Cook, as the dashing and romantic film star Vittorio Vidal, Stephen Hirst as the initially endearing Oscar Lindquist, Elliot Baker as both “The Führer” Herman and Daddy Brubeck and of course, Naomi Price in the titular role. What each of these leads brought to Sweet Charity was great energy, charisma, skill and an absolute love for what they do as performers. Having said this, every single one of the cast of Sweet Charity stepped up and made the experience as enjoyable as possible.
This production really shone as an example of what the theatre industry is capable of. Not only to bring joy, laughter and hope, but also to teach about life’s most hard-hitting lessons.
With bitter sweet final moments, Sweet Charity brought a true and realistic message home: that “without love, life would have no purpose.” When the final moments of the show were over, it left a wonderful feeling of hope that nestled quietly within the heart of the audience.
Without the exceptional story-telling of the cast of Sweet Charity this feeling would not have happened. It was little wonder that the majority of the audience gave a standing ovation.
So, for those wanting to sweeten their night out, look no further than Sweet Charity.