Sweet Charity 

The Shaw Festival revival of the 1966 musical comedy that scored 9 Tony Awards promises theatregoers a groovy flashback to yesterday.  Julie Martell (centre) owns the musical stage with a priceless performance you’ll not soon forget.

A WHOLE LOT OF FRESH AND FLASHY

Some girls have all the luck in the world.  Not so for Charity Valentine (Julie Martell) in Neil Simon’s celebrated adaptation of a woman can’t leave the past where it belongs.   With Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields layering the play with delectable musical numbers, this is the kind of story for anyone ripe for love who refuses to forgo the endless search for true romance.

That’s not to suggest Sweet Charity is doom and gloom, far from it.  Instead, the big bouncy musical is a whole lot of fresh and flashy thanks to director Morris Panych’s sensibility for frivolous fun.

Set designer Ken MacDonald doesn’t let him down with a creation that literally takes Parker Esse’s sassy choreography to a higher plateau. Together they rebrand brilliant for contemporary theatre lovers that doubt the narrative value of the classics.

Yet it’s Julie Martell who can rightfully take the longest bow for this.   Charity’s man troubles are bigger than the Grand Canyon but when it comes time for the perpetually optimistic dance-hall hostess to sing ‘Big Spender’ and ‘If My Friends Could See Me’ now, you can’t help but feel there’s a better place in the world to be than the Festival Theatre.

Two men you’re going love in the story’s balancing act is Mark Uhre’s ‘stupid, egotistical vanity’ driven Vittorio and Kyle Blair’s Oscar Lindquist who has an eye for ‘purity and innocence.’

Can Sweet Charity be considered the summer’s most subtle ‘gift in a gorgeous package’?   Two out of three believers of the infamous ‘fickle finger of fate’ insist that it is.

Review by Steven Berketo

 

SWEET CHARITY book by Neil Simon, music/lyrics by Cy Coleman & Dorothy Fields April 17 – October 31, 2015 FESTIVAL THEATRE, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario TICKETS $25.00 – $116.00 1-800-511-SHAW www.shawfest.com CAST David Ball, Kyle Blair, Jeremy Carver-James, Jasmine Chen, Colton Curtis, Howard J. David, Starr Domingue, Kristi Frank, Lindsey Frazier, Kelly Grainger, Aaron Hastelow, Grant Landry, Julie Martell, Julian Molnar, Matt Nethersole, Melanie Phillipson, Kimberly Rampersad, Kiera Sangster, Travis Seetoo, Genny Sermonia, Jacqueline Thair, Jay Turvey, Mark Uhre DIRECTOR Morris Panych SET Ken MacDonald LIGHTING Bonnie Beecher COSTUMES Charlotte Dean CHOREOGRAPHY Parker Esse MUSICAL DIRECTION Paul Sportelli PROJECTION DESIGN Cameron Davis SOUND DESIGN John Lott STAGE MANAGER Allan Teichman

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