i saw sweet charity on sat 16th oct 2010 at the matine. stalls e1. good seat but a little too close for my personal preference.
as i always like to be very familiar with the story and score i had watched the dvd with shirley maclaine and bought the broadway cd so already loved it all.
i have to say that this production went well above my expectations. i wasn't particularly familiar with tamzin but was completely blown away by her performance and voice. how do such talents as these end up in tacky soaps? there's something wrong somewhere! the role is very demanding as the character is bearly off stage but she nailed it completely.
the other stand out performance was from mark umbers. this must be an equally demanding part as he plays different characters, but again, what a star. his voice and acting were perfection. i could actually see him as the phantom or raoul in the awesome love never dies.
plenty of spine tingling moments listening to these guys' voices, always a good measure of performance for me!
in fact, the whole cast were superb, not a bad link anywhere.
i am a massive fan of musical theatre and visit the west end regularly when my job allows and have to say that this is one of the best shows i have seen.
why oh why is it ending??? in an ideal world this should just run and run as it deserves to. in an age where 'talent' is equalled with vacuous celebrity status and force fed x factor promotion for the gratification of media psychopaths such as simon cowell (who in my eyes in no better than jeremy kyle ie using the public with somewhat dubious iq levels to further their own career - to the detriment of the vulnerable), first class productions like sweet charity are bearing the brunt.
just hope i can catch it again before it ends.
thank you so much to all of the cast and production team if any should read this, please keep on keeping on with what you do as it brings so much pleasure to us viewers.
kind regards all.
dave woolrich. - dave woolrich
20 Oct 10
Oh dear god. Another pointless uninspired derivative of 'Fosse' production of Sweet Charity. Just what i ALWAYS wanted. Oh good grief. BAD BAD NAUGHTY THEATRE. Apart from Josephina Gabrielle. That woman is a goddess. Someone give her another job immediately.
19 Oct 10
Saw the show 31.7.10 Tamsin Outhwaite just can not sing, every number was shouted which made all her songs sound the same. If she could sing as well as she acts it would have been great. Her enthusiasm is fantastic and for a none dancer she moves very well.The cheap stage sets leave a lot to be desired. However we did enjoy the show particularly the second act. The rest of the cast were just fantastic. Sheila Ward - Sheila Ward
01 Aug 10
Well I love the show and enjoyed it so much at the chocolate factory that i thought i would go and see the transfer. Overall i feel i prefered it at the chocolate factory it is still very good and strong but i feel some of the set looks a bit cheap on a bigger stage. this does not ruin the show really at all though. the cast are still all amazing hats off to them all each has their characters down to a tee and i like some of the new staging for the new space. absolutely fantastic show with a great cast and a great creative team behind it. worth every penny. - Joshua Luke
30 Jul 10
Went to Theatre Royal Haymarket last night, blissfully ignorant of any historical background to the show and cast. Thatísí the way I like it: ídonít read Hello, tabloids or watch TV. A few minutes into the show and Iím in a state of shock, an over dilution of a wonderful film, my all time favourite. Not Neil Simonís 60ís rip-offs (Sweet Charity: book, stage, film) but Felliniís 1957 masterpiece The Nights Of Cabiria [Le notti di Cabiria]. This show fails to capture any of the emotion thatís in the film. I havenít seen previous Neil Simon re-versions but guess they are all as lightweight as currently on offer; if so, a shame Mr. Simon. Felliniís film does get a mention in the programme that the FOH staff kindly showed me at the interval but I wonder if anyone associated with this production actually viewed it? Peddling doom in an upbeat musical might be mass-market suicide but there should be a modicum of an emotional journey through the performance; Ms. Outhwaite has to take some of the responsibility. The FOH staff were all most helpful, especially the ticket box guy recommending a seat since Iíve not been in the auditorium for decades. The loos put many a graded WE theatre to shame, another hand drier or optional paper towels would get you 5 stars, Phantom over the road take note. Another musical with a weak ending, Ďsaw ALWís LND last week. Perhaps Theatreland needs a creative team that just does endings. Otherwise good light entertainment from an A1 hard working cast, held together by the leading ladies and gentleman; shoot the librettist and director. No tissues required. - Stevie
21 Jul 10
Saw this Friday. This must be the best night in the West End for years. Terrific performances from all the cast. They lifted an imperfect musical into wonderful entertainment.Another Menier production Broadway bound? - Stuart
09 May 10
Funny, great pathos, show stopping songs, superb performances from not only Tamzin and Mark but also rest of the cast. Saw it at the Chocolate Factory and now at the Haymarket, and the transfer has lost nothing of the impact of the show. Best night out in the West End for years. - Martin
07 May 10
Saw this at the Menier and knew it would get a transfer and delighted it has. Great Show and some good performances and loved Tamzin and Mark Umbers in it--good luck for the run at the Haymarket and hope it runs for a long while - Joe Spiteri
06 May 10
Tamzin Outhwaite and Mark Umbers are indeed very good in their roles and do an impressive job, as does the rest of the cast in all ensemble numbers... yet the book is truly quite weak and tends to sag here and there - I have surprised myself checking the time a good few times during the show, because it truly felt oh so endless... and that certainly doesn't speak favourably of the entertaining power of this production - Andy
05 May 10
I was really surprised at the shallowness of the text. The songs are great and the dancing excellent but the story just doesn't get off the ground. The best song Rhythm of Life is shoehorned into the show as though it was a good number written for something else. "Do you want to come to a church meeting with me", "What denomination", "The Rhythm of Life Church". It was dressed as though cut from Hair, perhaps an hommage. It would be really hard to fault the production except to wonder if there aren't stories more in need of being told. Or if this story is to be told that we could really see the filth of the situation and see her attempts to climb up and reclaim her life. I know it isn't a play but musicals really need to try harder to rise above the level of cartoon. - Paul Moylan
05 May 10
Fun,Fun.Fun - Neil
05 May 10
Love the songs of this show, book a bit weak, but Mernier just about carried it off. Tamsin was an ok singer and actress, but not a dancer. The whole piece packed choreographic carisma. It needs to be far more powerfull, but felt limp, tired and lazy. Shame, as I'd heard such good reviews, I was very diasappointed. - PG
05 May 10
WOW! - Coralbee
30 Apr 10
Just seen matinee preview following transfer to the Haymarket. Totally in awe of Tamzin Outhwaite's energy as she is practically on stage the whole time. Thoroughly enjoyed the show. Very witty especially the first act. Anyone remember Kelvin from Eastenders? Take a closer look at Daddy! A great supporting cast / ensemble. Gets the thumbs up from me. - TERRY
24 Apr 10
I have always loved this musical but never been able to see a profesional stage production. well it was worth the wait this is by far the best musical currently in london and the best the chocolate factory has put out so far. The entire cast the set the direction the choreograpy everything was absolutely amazing i will definately be booking tickets for the transfer i reccomend this production to everyone I dont have a bad word to say about it. - Joshua Bird
26 Feb 10
Wow. Just home from seeing the show and still got a big smile on my face. This was another Menier hit - how do they keep doing it?? The cast were without exception superb, led by the wonderful Tamzin Outhwaite. What ever she's on I want some; her performance was intoxicating. I think I'm in love ;-) The perfect feel good show. A West End transfer must be on the cards. I NEED to she this show again!! - Paul Wallis
22 Jan 10
Well, the Menier have done it again. This is a brilliant revival of a show packed with great numbers - Big spender, If my friend's could see me now, Rhythm of life - with a real big band sound in this tiny theatre. The dance hall girls are as brassy as the band, as they should be, with Tiffany Graves and Josefina Gabrielle providing terrific support to the sensational Tasmin Outhwaite. Mark Umbers is great as all three men. Paul J Medford led a wonderfully choreographed Rhythm of life which brought the house down; in fact, all of the choreography was superb. My only regret is that the run is sold out so i can't go again! - Gareth James
09 Jan 10
It was my first theatre visit of 2010. Now, after Sweet Charity, the only way is down. This show is absolute perfection. - Job
03 Jan 10
Some of the songs from Sweet Charity are better known than the show itself - Big Spender, If They Could See Me Now and Rhythm of Life, which sounds like it should be from Hair. A brilliantly choreographed ensemble do well to breathe life into a piece which could appear terminally dated, never better than on a cynical and dead-eyed Big Spender, a song I usually detest. There is particularly good support from Josefina Gabrielle and Mark Umbers, who has previously impressed in varying roles from My Fair Lady to The Glass Menagerie. In the title role, Tamzin Outhwaite, unrecognisable from TV appearances, dances very well but her voice lacks light and shade. She captures Charity's naive sweetness but not her harder inner core and does not fully engage the audience's sympathy which neutralises the surprising ending. Sweet Charity represents another excellent Christmas revival for the Chocolate Factory but there are signs of complacency creeping in: the show is clearly designed for a larger proscenium theatre on the presumption of a West End transfer (it's already loud enough) and, although the 'Meal Deal' represents excellent value the food is now depressingly poor. - David Baxter
28 Dec 09
To be honest, the book is pretty week. When you reflect at the interval you realise that nothing much has really happened. So how on earth have the Menier managed to create such a fantastic and memorable night at the theatre ? The intimacy is unquestionably a key factor (its the first time I've been to this theatre, and I love the closeness to the action and of the audidence itself - it just adds to the atmosphere and performance), the sheer talent and energy of the cast is the other. Tamzin Outhwaite is a suprise as Charity. Her dancing and singing are a joy, and her comic timing sublime, and she proves herself more than capable of leading the cast. Charity is a very hard role to play - she's 'used-goods' in many ways but isn't cynical and must have a degree of innocence and vulnerability; this in addition to having excellent vocals and immecable comic timing and dancing, make it a challenge beyond many West End 'stars'. I think Outhwaite's just misses to convey the vulnerability of Charity (her continuous grim sometimes seems a little forced) however this is a minor quibble from an otherwise excellent performance. Josefina Gabriella is simply outstanding and arguably the pick of the performers; Mark Umnbers, who as the three lovers remind of us of the continuous circle of Charity's love life is also terrific with a sweet voice. However its wrong to single anyone out of such a strong ensemble. The direction and choreography in maximising the limited stage space is nothing short of a marvel. Sweet Charity will need to adapt if it's to survive a transfer, but at the Chocolate Factory you can go, sit back, and just love every minute of a show that will see you leaving the theatre with a grim from ear-to-ear having had a marvelous time. - Richard
15 Dec 09
Musical theatre simply doesn't get much better than this! Every single aspect of this production -direction, choreography, casting, design, lighting, orchestrations- is spot on; then on top of that there is the raw material itself: SC is undoubtedly one of the Broadway greats, with Cy Coleman's bouncy, brassy, enthralling score, Dorothy Field's tart yet heartfelt lyrics, and Neil Simon's pacy, witty script...and Matthew White has done it proud. Once again, Stephen Mear proves why he has now become a choreographer of international renown...his work here is absolutely thrilling. As for Tamsin Outhwaite, returning to musical theatre after some years, here is a genuine starry musical comedy turn that is by turns fun, heart-warming, deeply touching and sung & danced magnificently. It's a stunning performance, and one that could comfortably stand comparison with the best of Broadway. That the entire cast match her is an indication of just what a special night in the theatre this is: Mark Umbers is brilliant as Charity's hugely contrasting love interests, and Josefina Gabrielle and Tiffany Graves are sensational as C's dancehall sidekicks, Gabrielle also hilariously doubling as an overwrought Italian starlet. This whole show is a knockout, and if you can't get tickets for it here then be first in line to book it when it inevitably transfers. WOW! - ajh
08 Dec 09
Your reviewer is spot on! Cannot believe some of the newspaper theatre critics have only given this 3 stars! It was an absolute treat from start to finish! The whole cast are superb! Choreograghy perfect! Great simple sets, beautifully costumed and the orchestra magnificent! The whole cast and production team deserve huge praise for this revival! I cannot recommend it highly enough! - Steve Cornthwaite
08 Dec 09
I wholeheartedly agree with the main review....except for one point in the final sentence! The "sit back" bit!!
The Menier Chocolate Factory is a fringe theatre ('Off-Broadway' for our trans-Atlantic cousins) and the seating is dire! (Think 'sardine'). Narrow bench-seats with low backs at 90 degrees to the benches. You will get to know your neighbours very well as you are squashed in so tightly.
The MCF would be well advised to increase the ticket price and lose a few seats.
To enjoy the show in comfort wait for the inevitable (and much deserved) West End transfer.
Having said all of that...the show was definitely worth the pain!
- Peter Searle
06 Dec 09
Terrific - Previous productions have always disappointed after the film, now we have one that measures up. The performances of the entire cast are superb - a west end transfer must be round the corner. Another big hit for the Menier. - Stuart Dean
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