Theatre: Sweet Charity

Sweet Charity has been playing on the West End since May, and it is still showing plenty of signs of life. At present the understudies are covering the roles of Charity, Nickie and Helene and are fantastic and serve as a reminder that you don't need to be a name to give a great performance.

The musical itself is an old fashioned musical fluffed up to some extent to make it feel less dated. It's a little bit coarser and dirtier and the drug use is a bit more explicit, but these changes make you feel like you are trapped in a time warp; torn between the sickly saccharine musical and the coarser (and far edgier) Fellini source material. Still this is the show that introduced the world to the numbers "Big Spender", "If my friends could see me now" and "Rhythm of Life" so there is a familiarity to the show for everyone even if you have never seen a musical before.

And while it is by no means a great musical, it does at least provide the actors with an opportunity to show off their singing, dancing and acting chops, and giving the opportunity to make every number a showstopper. The best revelation in this production was the number sung by the two jaded dance hall hostesses Nickie and Helene, "Baby, Dream Your Dream", which even amongst the superfluous sexual innuendo and drug use, conveyed such a sense of bittersweet disappointment. Tamzin Outhwaite is back in it for the rest of this month, but this show is worth catching anytime...

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