Sweet Charity, Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre Senior Group, Wednesday, July 20 and tonight.
The Alnwick Youth Theatre’s Senior Group have taken the original storyline of Sweet Charity and turned it into a family friendly show.
The plot follows a young woman called Charity Hope Valentine (Annie Davison), a dim, hopeless romantic who works as a dance hall hostess. She encounters the high life when she meets Vittorio Vidal, (brilliantly played by Tyler Angus) a film star, and this gives her and the Fandango Girls the spirit to speculate on alternative careers.
Charity insists that she should seek some cultural enlightenment from the YMCA where she gets stuck in a broken elevator with shy tax accountant Oscar Lindquist (Andrew Fletcher).
After the traumatic encounter, Oscar goes on to invite Charity to go the ‘Rhythm of Life Church’ where they hear the musical preachings of Daddy Brubeck (Matthew Winter). After the date Oscar and Charity continue to see each other and eventually become engaged. After a farewell party at the Ballroom, Charity and Oscar walk in the park, whereupon Oscar announces that he cannot go through with the wedding and becomes paranoid about the ‘other men’. He pushes her into the lake and runs away.
For Annie Davison, the casting of Charity was almost perfect. She gave a sublime performance. Davison was fascinating to watch and was a real stand-out character from the rest of the cast. She mastered the comic role that Charity possesses as well as incorporating a ‘ditsy blonde’ image for herself.
Vocally, Davison’s Singing wasn’t as strong as her character acting but her performance of ‘I’m the Bravest Individual’ was very well suited to her vocal range. All comments aside, it’s one thing to be able to sing but to sustain a brilliant acting performance with an American accent is something that Davison should be praised for.
Other notable performances in the show would firstly have to go Andrew Fletcher and Matthew Winter, two strong male leads who are assets to the Youth Theatre group. Fletcher’s performance of Oscar Lindquist is well worth a mention.
He gave a stunning acting performance with an almost perfect American accent, the same could be said for the singing as the vocal range was almost over two octaves with very low and high notes being hit with pristine quality and tone.
There are no more words I could describe to say how Winter gave another stunning performance in a show for a second time this year. In the show Winter sang the Sammy Davis Jr Classic Hit ‘Rhythm of Life’ beautifully and looked the double of John Lennon!
A big mention should go to the Lead Fandango Girls Emily Pearse, Hannah Firth, Lindsay Manion and Bex Gray. Emily Pearse’s character of the dry-humored Helene was brilliantly portrayed by Pearse and stole the show for me. Her vocals had a very clear tone and she sang complex solo harmonies in the musical number Rhythm of life.
Finally in terms of performances one understated character who stole the limelight was no other than Alfie the Dog who came on in the opening scenes. As you could imagine there was the audience was in shock and awe when they found out it was a real dog. It truly added to the hustle and bustle of the American lifestyle.
Alnwick Youth Theatre have performed a great rendition of Sweet Charity and should be proud. The professionalism was to a very high standard. For example there was a scene in the first half, someone dropped a glass, all actors did very well to cover it up and Lewis Gattens managed to input with the line ‘would you like me to clean this up?’ this only goes to show the quality of the direction from youth theatre and would recommend anyone planning to join to do so.
By Michael Pearson