Review: Sweet Charity, Nottingham Playhouse

A sparkling lead turn from Rebecca Trehearn, and brilliant choreography from Alistair David, enliven this Sweet Charity at Nottingham Playhouse

“Your game makes very good sense”

So pleased to have managed to squeak into Nottingham Playhouse’s Sweet Charity before it finished, this is what everyone uses their annual leave for, right…?! The second major production of the show in recent months following the Watermill’s strong actor-muso interpretation this summer, it is one which makes a bold move in introducing Alistair David’s choreography to give this 1966 musical a fresh lick of paint.

It’s the only real sense of updating that Bill Buckhurst’s production provides but it is an impactful one, David reimagining almost wholesale and invigorating the almost-too-familiar sounds of Cy Coleman’s classic score. In takis’ podium-based design, it looks a dream and more than justifies new AD Adam Lenson’s decision to reintroduce musicals to the programme here after an absence of more than a decade.

And in casting Rebecca Trehearn as its star, it could scarce have chosen better. Trehearn sounds like a dream throughout, of course she does, but what this role does is to really let her flex her acting chops and reveal how good a comedian she is. Goofy without being gormless, sweet without ever letting us forget how smart, and sensitive too – it’s impossible not to be entirely affected by her everytime her heart gets bruised. 

She’s supported well by the likes of Amy Ellen Richardson and Carly Mercedes Dyer, dalliances amusingly with Marc Elliott and Jeremy Secomb. And Caroline Humphris’ musical direction is taut with life, again no mean feat for a classic show. My only caveat comes with the uninterrogated premise of the show which a 21st century mindset ought to demand – consequence-free fun, laughs and good times are over, our theatre should reflect that. 

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes (with interval)
Photos: Darren Bell
Sweet Charity is booking at Nottingham Playhouse until 22nd September

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