Review: Sweet Charity, Montgomery Theatre

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Handsworth and Hallam Theatre Company’s latest offering is penned by the reliable pedigree of Neil Simon. As a result the script is good natured and funny.

Unlucky in love dancer, Charity, finally seems to have found romance with neurotic accountant, Oscar. The two leads share good chemistry. Gina Townend as Charity manages to strike a good balance between sweetness and sassiness. Matthew Walker puts in a fine, physical performance as Oscar. They both have strong singing voices as a rendition of Bravest Individual gets them through a claustrophobic experience in a lift.

Some of the more celebrated songs such as Big Spender, There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This and Rhythm of Life needed director Ian Walker to inject some energy and pizzazz however. Some effective choreography and Simon’s script just about gets the show out of jail, though.

The sixties Austin Powersesque outfits and moves in the Pompeii Club for example work well.

Charity has chosen love as her religion. In this aspect she admits she goes to church a lot! She has a nice alliterative catchphrase to help her with challenging situations. It’s just the fickle finger of fate.

Charity’s friend Nickie, Debbie Mather, observes that Charity runs her heart like a hotel. Guys are checking in and out all the time.

There is good use of scenery and props to drive the plot. The hole in the cupboard in Steve Pashley’s film star Vittorio’s bedroom, for example, allows the audience to see Charity’s amusing reactions to his interaction with girlfriend Ursula, played by Kerry Towndrow.