Review by Scarborough News June 2016
There’s no hiding place for the leading lady in Sweet Charity – she’s on stage for every scene except one and that’s Big Spender.
Fortunately, Georgie Samuels needed no where to run – she picked up this show from the first second and carried it high on her shoulders to the triumphant curtain call.
From the high comedy of falling in a lake and being stuck on a ferris wheel to the dark drama of being dumped by her fiance – Georgie was up to the role. There was not one false note or step as she took us on Charity’s emotional rollercoaster of a ride and made us care about the dance hall hostess hopelessly in love with the idea of love and hopeless at finding and keeping it. She went from the highs of If My Friends Could See Me Now and I’m A Brass Band to the lows of There’s Gotta Be Something and Where Am I Going? Of course she did not make this one of the best productions by Scarborough Musicals in the past five years by herself. There was fine support from her fellow dance hall hostesses – Sarah Cox, Tina Carne, Becki Cousins, Anita Hill, Hannah Jones, Amanda Wademan, Katie Buttner and Claire Edwards – who smouldered in Big Spender. Tim Tubbs made the most of the cameo of Daddy (Sammy Davis in the film). He and the chorus had a great time with Rhythm of Life. Liam Galashan as Oscar was the shade to Charity’s sun and Damon Hotchin was great as the film star Vittorio Vidal. Director Alex Weatherhill never let the pace slacken and choreographer Sheryl Buttner’s routines were raunchy without being seedy. The band, under the directorship of Hugh Penny, were perfect for the Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields’ score. But the show belonged to Georgie Samuels – who showed a little of what she could do as Adelaide Adams in Calamity Jane and ‘owned’ the stage as Sweet Charity.
Review by NODA
I’ve always thought that if you get this musical wrong in the first couple of minutes then you’ve lost the show for it’s entirety. I’m delighted to say that neither the Director nor the lead performer got this one wrong and, as a result, the audience was on-side from the very start as we immediately had the humour and bigheartedness of Charity on display. Georgie Samuels was excellent as Charity and showed some very good comic timing and a formidable voice, without shouting, in the familiar songs she had. Having won over the audience, especially when she fell in the lake, she then had everyone on her side in her desperate search for love, which was hard to find in the sleazy nightclub where she worked. Her scenes with Damon Hotchin, who was a very good Vittorio Vidal, were very enjoyable and her endearing character shone throughout. Damon’s performance of a challenging role was enhanced by his consistent accent, and I could understand every word. Lead performers rarely excel without suitable support and here we had an “assortment” of Fan-Dango girls and ladies at the club who formed a strong bond with Charity. Nickie (Sarah Cox) and Helene (Katie Buttner) were a good pairing, looking right, singing and dancing well and all the hostesses were strong in Big Spender. I thought Liam Galashan was a super Oscar Lindquist and he gave a lovely, controlled performance, extracting some really tender touches. In a strange way, his decision to ditch Charity, which was beautifully performed, came as a surprise, even to those of us who know the show. I was a bit taken aback with the setting of The Rhythm of Life with Daddy Brubeck (Tim Tubbs) and the entire congregation seemingly spaced out on drugs. However, as it was different from my expectations, and from what I had seen previously, I rather enjoyed it although I did wonder whether Oscar would have gone to that sort of church. I enjoyed Paul Buttner as Herman (with a great voice) and the whole, fairly large, team of supporting actors, dancers and singers worked, danced and sang extremely well. Apart from maybe my comment earlier about the church scene, I thought the choreography was in keeping with tradition. The set was just right with very good use of sliding flats behind which other scenes were prepared – cleverly done and people and props behind the flats were well masked. In honesty, I thought that the orchestra had an off night but, overall, this did not detract from what was a very good production. What a shame it is that more societies don’t do the show.