Theatre News

Outhwaite Savours Sweet Charity for Menier Xmas

Rather than Me and My Girl (See The Goss, 17 Apr 2009), the Christmas slot at the Menier Chocolate Factory is set to be filled by the revival of another Broadway musical classic: 1966’s Sweet Charity.

According to today’s Daily Mail, Tamzin Outhwaite will return to the musical stage to take the title role in the new production – directed by Matthew White and choreographed by Stephen Mears – which will run at the 150-seat Off-West End powerhouse in Southwark from 21 November 2009 to 7 March 2010.

Sweet Charity – which has music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Dorothy Fields and a book by Neil Simon, with original direction and choreography by Bob Fosse – takes a look at the seedy underbelly of 1960s New York. The gullible, enchanting heroine Charity Hope Valentine dances, laughs and cries her way through a series of whirlwind romances to show-stopping numbers including “Rhythm of Life”, “If My Friends Could See Me Now” and “Hey Big Spender”.

Charity was originally played by Gwen Verdon on Broadway and was immortalised in the 1969 film version by Shirley MacLaine. The musical was last revived in the West End in a 1998 production at the Victoria Palace starring Bonnie Langford.

Tamzin Outhwaite is best known for her TV roles in EastEnders as well as Red Cap, Hustle, Frances Tuesday, Vital Signs, Hotel Babylon and The Fixer. Her theatre work includes Breathing Corpses and Flesh Wound at the Royal Court and, most recently, the hit 2007 West End revival of Sixties’ sex farce Boeing Boeing (See News, 21 Dec 2006). Earlier in her career, she appeared in musicals including Carousel, Oliver! and Grease.

The Chocolate Factory’s last four Christmas musical revivals have all transferred to the West End: the five-time Olivier Award-winning Sunday in the Park with George, Little Shop of Horrors (also directed by Matthew White), La Cage aux Folles (still running at the Playhouse Theatre) and this past Christmas’ A Little Night Music (still running at the Garrick Theatre).

Ahead of Sweet Charity, the Menier will be celebrating the musical successes of the Great White Way in more tongue-in-cheek manner with a season of the satirical revue Forbidden Broadway, which runs from 25 June to 13 September (See News, 17 Apr 2009).