BWW Review: SWEET CHARITY at Manukau Performing Arts Spotlight Theatre Auckland
A big tick for Manukau Performing Arts' production of Sweet Charity. They have gathered top talent to create a great night's entertainment
I know I've been to a great show when I wake up singing the songs. Sure, they are well known (Big Spender, If My Friends Could See Me Now, Rhythm of Life, ) but the less known ones (Somebody Loves Me, There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This, I'm a Brass Band) were right on the tip of the lips.
If you don't know this show then think 'origins of Austin Powers'.
A collaboration by Neil Simon, C. Coleman and Dorothy Fields, Sweet Charity first opened on Broadway in 1966 and has been revived twice since. The show was adapted to a film in 1969 starring Shirley MacLaine.
Charity Hope Valentine is the epitome of the eternal optimist; you really can't keep a good girl down. She's terminally trapped in her idealism despite being subjected to the realities of life working in a rundown New York 'dance' hall. Charity is naive to the harshness of the world; blanketed by romanticism and faithful to her mantra "without love, life would have no purpose". After a string of used and abused experiences with men Charity finds herself stuck in an elevator with the paranoid and obsessive Oscar and may have finally found what she wants. Or has she?
Megan O'Reily is Charity Hope Valentine, the big eyed, tarnish-proof waif who gives her last dime to the less fortunate and her heart to any guy who will look her way.
O'Reily's role is huge and she is superb. One cannot help but love her. She's the whole deal.
The production benefits further by a stellar supporting cast. Chantel Wilson and Sharon Hewlett bring sass and humour as Helene and Nickie, Charity's world-weary, street wise co-workers. Those girls can sing.
George Everts is sensational as the neurotic, obsessive compulsive tax accountant boyfriend and Kane Welsh brilliant as charismatic Daddy Brubeck.
The ensemble are fabulous; voice, dance and multi-roles. They deliver the visionary choreographic brainchild of Bob Fosse with style and professionalism. All of them.
A special mention must go to choreographer Kimberley Cousins who has remained true to Fosse's work. She has well and truly delivered choreography that illuminates a further dimension of the story which honours Fosse's intention. Her Rich Man's Frug is an authentic testament.
The music is great, the cast are brilliant, time flies; an indication of a show worth seeing.
I'm going again.
Sweet Charity Manukau Performing Arts, Spotlight Theatre, Tavern Lane Papatoetoe
28 October-11 November