Sweet Charity

At the Royal Exchange. Book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Dorothy Fields. Dir: Derek Bond, with Kaisa Hammarlund as Charity Hope Valentine.

Great fun and exuberantly staged, although I’m not sure that the round is right for a musical – at least not at stage level. Best line of all was the description of dance-hall hostessing as “self-defence to music” – which sums up the humour and sleaze in Charity’s progression from betrayal to heartbreak via a brief interlude of happiness and some great numbers. Hammarlund wasn’t great as a singer or dancer, but she was so engaging throughout as the perkily optimistic Charity that you could almost overlook the fact that this was a story of humiliation and sadness.

Shades of B Kliban about some of the characters and costumes!

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