By Liv Wilson
Book by Neil Simon
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Presented by BAMT
Directed by Jess Purdy
Season from 27 October - 14 November 2020: Two hours 20 minutes with interval. Bookings: https://www.bamt.com.au/sweetcharity
Sweet Charity, the timeless classic that has captivated fans from screen to stage, has made its way to Brisbane’s Academy of Musical Theatre for a short season featuring their 2021 Performance Course cohort.
Set in New York City in the early 1960’s, a kind hearted yet naive Charity Hope Valentine (Kelsey Todd), pushes through a long list of bad dates in the hope of finding true love and a one way ticket out of the rundown dance hall she’s worked at for 8 years.
On her quest to escape her reality, she falls head over heels for an international movie star, Vittorio Vidal (Cristian Robba-Colley) who gives her a brief taste of a different life. However, after an eventful night alone with Vittorio, Charity returns to her unsatisfying life at the dance hall.
Encouraged by her friends, Helene (Tayler Ramsay) and Nikki (Emily Potts), Charity dares to dream of escape from the world she’s fallen accustomed to. Whilst venturing out of her comfort zone, she finds herself stuck in an elevator with a highly-wound tax accountant, Oscar Lindquist (Sam Caruana). Charity finds Oscar peculiar, and nothing like any of the men she has known. Charity falls for the kind-hearted Oscar, who appears to be smitten too. Has Charity found her match in Oscar or will he prove to be just like the long list of bad dates she knows all too well?
One of the better ensemble numbers in the show, The Rhythm of Life was thoroughly enjoyable. It was very clearly rehearsed in great depth and eye- catching with its busy choreography. However with the vocal performance in this piece the diction wasn’t clear which made it hard to keep up with the fast paced song.
I’m not certain if there were issues with the balance of the backing tracks & microphone levels but there were times throughout the performance when the vocals were lost behind the music.
One performer who did not suffer in the vocal department was Cristian Robba-Colley. He did a wonderful job of leading a number of moments, including my favourite portion of the show: Vittorio’s apartment scene. His comedic timing, strong vocals and characterisation were spot on. He was featured in a number of smaller supporting characters as well, all of which were entertaining & executed superbly.
Tayler Ramsay performed strongly the entire show. She sang beautifully and showed strong characterisation, with obvious stage presence. I also believe Sam Caruana did a wonderful job of characterizing Oscar. His vocals were strong & noticeably some of the best in the show. I would love to see both Tayler and Sam in roles that better showcase their obvious strengths.
The accents were inconsistent at best. Kelsey Todd’s was perhaps the best.
Despite the cast’s challenges with accent, I was impressed with the near perfect dialogue. Throughout the entire performance there weren’t any obvious slip-ups or stumbling over lines.
Overall, BAMT’s rendition of Sweet Charity was enjoyable; however I was left wondering if this musical was the right choice of vehicle to showcase the particular talents of this BAMT cohort.
Tickets are on sale for $39 and are available until 14/11/21.