Review: Sweet Charity @ Royal Exchange… a real sweet treat for all

Super-talented Kaisa Hammarlund took to the stage of The Royal Exchange to play the gorgeously vulnerable and innocent Charity Valentine in the live theatre adaptation of hit musical ‘Sweet Charity’.

Similar to the story of Pretty Woman but set in 1960s New York, we follow Charity on a journey of self-awareness and development.

She’s desperate to leave her hostess job at the dance hall and sees finding love as a way out of her dead end job, totally unaware that her friends are all that she needs and a bit of self-esteem.

The cleverly built stage incorporates the sound and lights within it, creating a sound that felt that the band were in the centre of the stage rather than behind a clear glass screen.

Costume changes were quick and subtle with different characters passing props and costumes between scenes and actors.

“Playing Charity is an absolute dream come true,” Kaisa told MM.

“I adore her, the best part is that I get to go on her whirlwind journey every night.

“I’m absolutely shattered by the end of the night, but it’s a very rewarding tiredness.”

Packed with toe-tapping songs and beautifully choreographed dances, the uniqueness of the Royal Exchange provided us with a truly personal performance from the multi-talented cast and music ensemble.

It all made the live theatre experience come very much alive, as did the musical number ‘Rhythm of Life’, which was both empowering and rejoicing.

Director Derek Bond took the brave decision to cast Daddy Brubeck as a woman and the risk certainly paid off.

Josie Benson is fantastic in the role and serves the part with conviction, leaving the audience members feeling totally liberated and empowered – a real feel good factor.

The musical number ‘Hey Big Spender’ was a joy to watch and we saw the characters of Helene and Nickie as individuals, all with their own hopes and dreams all beautifully choreographed by the amazingly talented Aletta Collins.

The audience felt as though they were actually with them in their dressing room offering a more 3-dimensional experience which was totally delightful.

Sweet Charity is a real treat, a definite must see.

Sweet Charity at The Royal Exchange runs until January 28. Box office: 0161-833-9833

Image courtesy of Royal Exchange Theatre via Youtube, with thanks.

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