Fosse your feet down to Gold Coast Little Theatre’s sexy & sultry production of Sweet Charity!
Review by Jake Goodall
Dated in 1966, Gold Coast Little Theatre revives this sultry musical in the most stellar way possible. The audience finds solace in the cockeyed optimism and innocence of Charity who is determined to leave her forbidding life as a New York taxi dancer. Whilst the job she has is decidedly undesirable, Charity’s hopeful romanticism lifts her out of her circumstances and helps her reach for the life beyond the seedy club. When she meets Oscar, a neurotic and repressed New Yorker; will she leave her past of lousy men and find true love at last?
The set design, by Director Cilla Scott and Lawrie Esmond is minimalistic yet extremely effective. Building the New York skyline with a geometric backdrop gave the audience an insight into this topsy turvy production. These three platforms ingeniously revolve to double as the elevator, telephone booth and the parachute jump ride which were used successfully throughout the production to create influential spaces for many musical numbers. Lighting Design by Wes Buff and Sound Design by Lawrie Esmond conjure each setting perfectly with the audience’s eyes being drawn into every moment. Unfortunately, the opening performance had a few sound issues which are sure to be straightened out as the production goes on.
GCLT’s rendition of Sweet Charity is Directed by Cilla Scott, supported by Choreographer Paula Guild with Music Direction by Julie Whiting. Scott’s clever staging places the nuanced plot and dialogue in the spotlight; just as it should be, the ideas of female resilience shines through at every moment. The staging is simple, spread across the full stage and three revolving platforms. The blocking occasionally felt jaded however the actors took hold of every movement to further their character and the story. Whilst this show is set in the past, Scott’s direction teases the modern themes that this musical has today and makes this retelling evermore paramount.
Music Direction by Julie Whiting is outstanding, featuring a live band, every note was played with perfection. The vocality of the production was beautifully created by Whiting with only a few minor hiccups here and there which will surely fade as the production continues on. The strength, however, lies immensely in the choreography by Paula Guild which is the top highlight of this production. Guild’s hard hitting Fosse creation is extremely challenging, however there is not a fault in sight in the choreography for this show. All the actors and ensemble hit the sweet Fosse moves with absolute ease and professionalism. If you enjoy Fosse or want an experience outside of typical musical theatre, Guild has created this for you!
This wonderful production could not have been made possible without the fantastic performances of the on-stage cast. Becky Morgan led this production as the titular character, Charity, with ease and grace. Morgan’s performance in this role is extremely contrasted to her previous role in the grunge rock musical American Idiot, also at GCLT. However, she has proved herself as a diverse musical theatre performer singing the classical songs, we all know and love with her beautiful vocals.
Starring opposite Morgan was Tony Campbell as the neurotic Oscar Lindquist. Campbell stole the spotlight from his first step on stage as the claustrophobic New Yorker on his way to group analysis, getting stuck in the elevator sure was a magic moment for all in the theatre. Campbell’s interpretation of Oscar is extremely nuanced; from the suave loving man to the neurotic troubled man jilting Charity at the altar.
Supporting Campbell and Morgan is a whimsical cast including Jess Ng (Nickie), Anatassia Muir (Helene), Tabitha Woods (Carmen), Nathan Skaines (Herman), Nathan Hope (Vittoria Vidal), Jamie Catherwood (Rosie) & Ellie Halpin O’Neill (Ursula March). Stand out notes must be given to Matthew McKenzie as Daddy Brubeck, McKenzie absolutely embodied the spiritual leader and led the show back in with the Act Two opening number in style and pizzaz.
Rounding out this ginormous cast is the ensemble including Flynn Anderson, Olesia Winter, Shae Knobloch, Amy McPherson, Bella Janssen, Jam Marshall, Louise Thorpe, Maria Newman, Natalie Cassaniti and Hunter Wall who all wonderfully created the atmosphere and tension that the production needed. Special mention to Sunny J as the stand-out dance captain who flawlessly embodied the Fosse choreography throughout the entire show.
All in all, Gold Coast Little Theatre’s Sweet Charity is a wonderful night out at the theatre and challenges everyone to understand the issues faced by Charity and the Hostess, and how they can relate to this day and age. Gold Coast Little Theatre has delivered a wonderful piece of community theatre that will make a fantastic addition to anyone’s social schedule. BRAVO!
Sweet Charity will play until 21 May 2022 and tickets are still on sale here.