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Gemma Sutton and the cast of Sweet Charity at the Watermill Theatre

REVIEW | Sweet Charity | Watermill Theatre

Paul Hart’s latest production at the Watermill Theatre is an innovative and charming revival of Sweet Charity starring the incomparable Gemma Sutton who leads the production with striking wit and sensational character.

Transferring the classic musical from the swinging sixties to modern New York, this thrilling actor muso production brings heart and flair to the timeless production. When young Charity stumbles upon many obstacles in her search for happiness, her naivety and optimism leaves her in many haphazard situations.

Hart’s production breathes a breath of fresh air on the show, making the musical feel completely contemporary. With intricate orchestrations by Sarah Travis and Charlie Ingles, it becomes a show that resonates with today. This revolutionary production is inventively staged by Hart with captivating additions such as the electric beats of the night club that takes Rich Man’s Frug to a completely new level. Not to mention the unforgettable hip-hop rendition of Rhythm of Life lead by the soulful Tomi Ogbaro.

     

Gemma Sutton and the cast of Sweet Charity at the Watermill Theatre
Gemma Sutton and the cast of Sweet Charity at the Watermill Theatre © Philip Tull

     

Gemma Sutton is a natural as the big-hearted Charity who oozes warmth and personality. After a triumphant run in The Rink, Sutton continues to go from strength to strength showcasing her versatility and sheer skill as an actor. Performing this mammoth role with ease, she captures Charity’s complex desperation authentically and her vocals are astounding. Mastering those stellar belt notes, hitting the humour and encapsulating Charity’s vulnerability, Sutton really has it all.

Making his professional debut, Arts Ed graduate and winner of the Stephen Sondheim Performer of the Year competition, Alex Cardall gives an impressive performance as the nervously neurotic Oscar. Not only does Cardall hold his own with his slick performance on the drums throughout the show, he is utterly convincing as the straight-laced young man that falls for Charity. With superb comedy timing and infectious energy, Cardall proves to be a huge star.

The exceptionally talented actor muso cast prove to be a quadruple threat as they tackle the detailed orchestrations of the music. The hostess girls of the Fandango Ballroom give a brassy performance as an ensemble of fearless young women. Vivienne Carter stands out for her feisty nature and alluring stage presence in There’s Got To Be Something Better Than This and Big Spender.

Tom Jackson Greaves’ choreography encapsulates the modern edge of this production, with mesmerising and seductive movement, that at times makes the intimacy of the Watermill feel like the Palladium with the show stopping big numbers.

Sweet Charity almost feels as if it was written yesterday in the Watermill’s sizzling summer production. With a phenomenal cast and cutting-edge staging, it’s a truly tremendous show that I hope has a further life. Despite the theatre’s rich history, the Watermill prove they really are moving with the times by creating first-class musical theatre.

★★★★★

On at the Watermill Theatre until the 15th of September, tickets and information can be found online here.

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