There seems to be a trend in Hollywood these days for small theatres to attempt big Broadway musicals. Some of the endeavors are surprisingly successful such as the Production Company’s Sweeney Todd a few years ago or Chicago by Musical Theatre of Los Angeles. Perhaps the downsizing of several Broadway shows in smaller venues inspired them. There have also been some amazing original musicals such as the recent Coeurage Theatre production of The Trouble with Words that had a terrific score and talented singers. There are other attempts, which are decidedly less successful. Such a production was the recent Sweet Charity at The Knightsbridge Theatre.
Knightsbridge had produced a successful Rocky Horror Show a few years back so I went with some expectations that the result might be good. Robert Marra, whose work as a director is very hit and miss–Chess was a hit, Oklahoma was a miss–directed the piece, but he made some very odd choices in bringing the piece to the stage. Right off, the first number, which was supposed to be Charity alone on the stage just walking, he turned into a full cast walkover. Next when Charity was pushed in the water, she emerged bone dry. He also put her in a hideous dress. Brooke Sequin played Charity. Her acting was quite good but her singing is weak and she is not a dancer. Sweet Charity is largely a dance show. The choreography by Tania Possick was the best thing about the show. She successfully recreated the famous Fosse dances, and with a few exception, using non- professional dances. Some of the other actors were very good. Leslie Stevens was powerful as Nicky, and she can dance. Adam Silver was the best actor in the show and he gave a fully professional level performance. He was excellent in all his scenes and brought the rest of the cast with him in their joint scenes. James Lent is an incredibly talented musician, but he was saddled with some less than accurate horn playing. Sweet Charity plays at The Knightsbridge Theatre until Nov. 13th