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22/11/2020

Review: Sweet Charity, New Wolsey


Charity Hope Valentine is the lovely kind of girl who just wants to be loved, unfortunately ‘Sweet’ Charity always ends up giving her heart to the wrong man.

Sweet Charity is the latest New Wolsey, actor-musican production of Neil Simon’s classic 60s musical. Older readers will remember the movie version starring Shirley MacLaine and Sammy Davis Jnr.

Katie-Birtill-as-Charity-Valentine.-Sweet-Charity-at-the-New-Wolsey-Theatre-Ipswich.-Photo-Mike-Kwasniak-(2)Charity is in a dead-end job as a taxi-dancer at a rather dubious nightclub. The story revolves around Charity’s quest for true love and the lives of her fellow more worldly workers at the club.

After yet another boyfriend steals her money and tries to drown her it looks like Charity will never find true love, but you never know what is just around the corner. A chance encounter in a lift leads to a new relationship with Oscar, could he be the one?

There are loads of great songs including Big Spender (yes the tune we know by Shirley Bassey) and If They Could See Me Now.

If you think that this is going to just be a revamped version of an old Broadway Musical think again. Peter Rowe’s direction has taken this story and turned it into what the New Wolsey are renowned for…. superb actor-musician productions. To be honest I personally think on this occasion Mr Rowe has surpassed himself, this is a BIG production.

He is helped by some excellent casting, not least Katie Birtill who plays Charity with innocence, hopefulness and a certain amount of grit. Birtill’s performance is superb, she’s on stage for pretty much the whole of the production and you really connect with her. That’s not to say the rest of the cast don’t deserve mention, the joint performances from Katia Sartini and Sophie Byrne were equally amazing.

The standing ovation on the night that I saw Sweet Charity says it all, well done New Wolsey this is a winner.

Sweet Charity plays at New Wolsey Theatre until Saturday 26th September, box office 01473 295900 or book online, www.wolseytheatre.co.uk/shows/sweet-charity.

Mark Keable – Ipswich2 Magazine
Pictures Mike Kwasniak

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