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Sweet Charity

Charity Hope Valentine is a dance hall hostess at the Fandango Ballroom New York, New York. A true optimist, all Charity wants is happiness and fulfilment…

Published on September 13th 2006.


Sweet Charity

Adapted by Blake Morrison

Directed by Barrie Rutter

Northern Broadsides is one of my favourite theatre companies. This production is a new version of Carlo Goldoni’s Italian comic masterpiece ‘Servant of Two Masters’.

Set in Skipton in the mid 19th century, it swaps the elegant Venice of the 18th century for more northern climes and accents. A penniless, deprived, desperate and very hungry Yorkshireman gets himself two jobs which then begs the question as to whether anybody can serve two bosses at the same time and not be found out.

This classic farce explores the possibilities. And to help this merry romp along (as if it needs any help) we have a woman disguised as her brother, a pigheaded Dales farmer, a pompous vicar and much, much more.

A brilliant adaptation by Blake Morrison helps make the evening complete. From start to finish this is a joyous production. The hilarity oozes out of every line and the quirky mixture of obscene ‘Yorkshire-isms’, broad local accents and the ebullience of a marvellous cast help make the night something special. The belly laughs were fast and frequent even as one swapped The Grand Canal for the Leeds to Liverpool waterway.

It was so funny the mere mention of Bradford, Leeds and Bingley added to a great evening’s pleasure. Dickens Ashworth as Sam Towler was just the perfect pompous father with Roy North as the self righteous Rev Lumb and his Latin bon mots a glorious treat.

Barrie Rutter, the founder and driving force behind Northern Broadsides often brought the house down with his marvellous portrayal of the pivotal Arthur Dodge. What a fine actor he is.

The whole company of nine were excellent as a team and the singing was an excellent ensemble performance. Leslie Travers has designed a wonderful set. This Company always provides a creative set and is often unique in its shows. Tonight was the perfect demonstration of such diversity.

Anybody needing a pick-me-up this week must go to the Lowry. Tickets will be in very short supply. One of the happiest, fun filled 2 hours I have had in the theatre in 2006. A relatively short review but in inverse proportion to the pleasure it gave me. I promise you a great night.

Richard Burbage

September 2006

The Lowry Theatre, Salford Quays, Greater Manchester
Box Office 0870 787 5793
www.coliseum.org.uk
From Tuesday 26th to Saturday 30th September

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