Sweet Charity

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Previewed 23 April 2010, Opened 4 May 2010, Closed 6 November 2010 at the Haymarket Theatre in London

A major revival of the classic musical comedy Sweet Charity in London starring Tamzin Outhwaite.

Sweet Charity follows the misadventures of love encountered by the gullible and guileless Charity Hope Valentine, a woman who always gives her heart and her dreams to the wrong man. Featuring favourite hits such as 'Hey, Big Spender'; 'The Rhythm of Life'; 'I'm A Brass Band'; and 'If My Friends Could See Me Now'.

The cast for Sweet Charity in London features Tamzin Outhwaite as 'Charity Hope Valentine', Josefina Gabrielle and Tiffany Graves. Music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Dorothy Fields and book by Neil Simon based on the screenplay Nights of Cabiria by Federico Fellini. It is directed by Matthew White with choreography by Stephen Mear, set design by Tim Shortall, costume design by Matthew Wright, lighting by David Howe and sound by Gareth Owen. This production transfers to London's West End after a critically acclaimed sell-out Christmas season at the Menier Chocolate Factory in November 2009.

"Transferring a show from a small venue such as the Menier Chocolate Factory to the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London doesn't always work. It's like moving from a shoebox into a hatbox. Happily, Cy Coleman's raunchy, bittersweet Sweet Charity has risen to even greater dramatic heights and found new emotional depths... Tamzin Outhwaite's Charity is by far the cutest of the mini-dressed girls. She dances for joy and sings with sweetness, while the other hostesses are convincingly 'caught on the flypaper of life'. Led by the marvellously jaded Josefina Gabrielle and tough Tiffany Graves, they deliver the brassy Big Spender with bolshiness... I guarantee Charity will show you a good time and bring a tear to your eye." The Mail on Sunday

"This is a cracking musical... Cy Coleman's pungent tunes and Dorothy Fields's tangy lyrics work so well because they resist musical theatre's feelgood impulse. It's gaudy, heartfelt, but true to sour human experience. In Matthew White's romping production, Tamzin Outhwaite makes a sharp, avid heroine, although I could use a side order of ditzy... The band gives it some brass, while Stephen Mear's choreography inevitably channels Bob Fosse -- slouch, sneer, the shrug as means of expression." The Sunday Times

"The Menier's revival of the 1966 musical Sweet Charity is a harsh little account of a dance-hall hostess who begins by getting dumped in a river by a tightwad and ends by getting dumped in a psychological mess by a tightarse; the choreography is spiky; the music is brassy; the girls are sneery-going-on-sentimental... Tamzin Outhwaite, an elegant dancer and capable singer, is perfect as the dumpee partly because she doesn't invite sympathy and because she turns into a knock-kneed, slightly dazed version of a 60s chick; when she sticks her chewing gum on the bedpost, you know she means it." The Observer - December 2009 Sweet Charity in London at the Menier Chocolate Factory

The musical comedy Sweet Charity was originally staged by Bob Fosse on Broadway in January 1966 in a production which starred Gwen Verdon in the title role and ran for over 600 performances, winning Fosse the Tony Award 'Best Choreography'. The musical transferred to London the following year in October where it was staged at the Prince of Wales Theatre with Juliet Prowse taking over the title role from Gwen Verdon. The musical was last revived in London's West End at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 1998 with Bonnie Langford playing 'Charity Hope Valentine'.

Sweet Charity in London the Haymarket Theatre previewed from 23 April 2010, opened on 4 May 2010 and closed on 6 November 2010.

Sweet Charity with Bonnie Langford 1998

Previewed 9 May 1998, Opened 19 May 1998, Closed 15 August 1998 at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London

Charity Hope Valentine, a lovelorn dance hall hostess at the Fan-Dango Ballroom, is in search of one thing - happiness. But the harder she searches the more difficult it seems to find. Why? Because Charity's idea of happiness is a man...

The cast features Bonnie Langford as 'Charity Hope Valentine' with Mark Wynter as 'Vittorio' and Cornell John as 'Oscar'. Directed by Carol Metcalfe with choreography by Chet Walker and designs by Terry Parsons, originally choreographed by Bob Fosse.

"The programme notes speak of Sweet Charity's 'hot and sleazy atmosphere', but in the case of this production, that sounds suspiciously like wishful thinking... However, it was always going to be difficult to associate Bonnie Langford, who plays Charity, with murky moral ambivalence. Despite her impressive track record of work on stage and large and small screens, you can't shake the suspicion that deep down, she's more Violet Elizabeth Bott (from TV's Just William) than a goodtime girl with a heart of gold... What's lacking is a shot of hard American brassiness, which was choreographer Bob Fosse's stock-in-trade and which he imparted by the bucket-load to both stage and movie versions of Sweet Charity. Langford is feisty and effervescent and looks like she's enjoying herself, but she's more Bournemouth pier than Broadway... The show is fun, but it needs an extra edge of darkness." The Guardian

"Can you believe it? Bonnie Langford gets down and gets dirty as a dance hall hostess in this rumbustious, sentimental 1966 Broadway musical, a Bob Fosse and Neil Simon classic of Cabaret and Chicago vintage. She plays Charity Hope Valentine, eight years on the job and yearning for romance... Carol Metcalfe's production maintains both period accuracy and timeless musical theatre naffness with loving dedication. One can never quite get over Bonnie as a screeching infant in Just William [a British TV series], or as a stage school prodigy. She is technically superb, a real trouper, half a step ahead of everyone else. But the damned want-to-be-liked niceness gets through the scruffiness, and the Shirley MacLaine blonde wig looks like just that... But she dances up a storm in the special number Fosse created for his wife, Gwen Verdon: I Am a Brass Band. And other items such as the floor show in the Pompeii club and the Broadway fugue popularised by Sammy Davis Jr, The Rhythm of Life, all elbows, wrists and snake-like Frisco disco, are alone worth the price of admission." The Daily Mail

"In the words of its most famous song, Big Spender, Bob Fosse's 1966 musical offers fun, a few laughs, and a good time. Well, reasonably good, anyway... Bonnie Langford lacks charisma as the hopeful heroine, but Carol Metcalfe's production surrounds her with the right atmosphere of tongue-in-cheek sleaze... Bonnie Langford should be a perfect Charity. She can sing and dance. She can do cute. But she can't do sexy, or even quirky. She belts out the showstopper If My Friends Could See Me Now in Vittorio's apartment like a trouper, but her attempts to bed him look unconvincing. She powers through dance routines like a diminutive dynamo, but there's a glazed quality to her chipmunk chirpiness between the big numbers that turns Charity's comic optimism into vacuousness. Worse, the wig designed to make Langford look like Shirley MacLaine actually makes her look uncannily like Coronation Street's Ivy Tilsley. Still, her rendition of If My Friends Could See Me Now stands alongside Big Spender as a blockbuster in a show surprisingly short on truly memorable tunes... Despite the deficiencies of show and production, it's well worth spending a little time in this particular joint." The London Evening Standard

Sweet Charity in London at the Victoria Palace Theatre previewed from 9 May 1998, opened on 19 May 1998 and closed on 15 August 1998