Directed by Dean Bryant
Starring Verity-hunt Ballard
Dean Bryant’s revival of Neil Simon’s Tony-winning ’60s musical is a bitter-sweet success.
Centering around a happy-go-lucky dance hall girl named Charity Hope Valentine, and her string of woe-begotten relationships, Sweet Charity asks you to throw away your sense of disbelief that anyone could be quite so wilfully, blindly optimistic. It paints its young heroine’s story in broad, colourful strokes—realism be damned.
Writer Neil Simon took inspiration from Fellini’s 1957 film Nights of Cabiria, right from the opening scene in which the heartless ‘john’ pushes our naïve heroine into the river, so as to rob her purse… but instead of the proud, defiant street-walker Cabiria (played by Giulietta Masina in Fellini’s film), we get the super-sweet hopeless romantic Charity Hope Valentine; instead of loutish playboy Alberto Lazzari, who Fellini paints as the cad he is, we get the sympathetic, swoon-tastic Vittorio Vidal, who is so charming that we almost don’t mind that he exploits Charity’s situation and then makes her hide in the closet all night while he has sex with his girlfriend.
Video from the Musical ‘The Sapphires’
Directed by Wesley Enoch
Presented by Company B/Belvoir St Theatre and Black Swan Theatre
Written by Aboriginal playwrite, Tony Briggs, the story draws on the real experiences of family members whose roots are bedded in music and song. The real stories are threaded together and embellished by topical issues of the ’60s era to make a thoroughly entertaining play.
The Sapphires was originally commissioned by the Melbourne Theatre Company and performed at the Victorian Arts Centre. The first production starred Indigenous actors Debra Mailman, Rachel Maza, Ursula Yovich and Lisa Flanagan.
The current production is presented by Black Swan State Theatre Company and Company B Belvoir, and stars Christine Anu, Casey Donovan, Kylie Farmer and Holly Andrews.
“This is a great story, accompanied by some terrific dancing and singing, and directed by a shining star of the Australian theatre, Wesley Enoch, who directed the first highly acclaimed production of The Sapphires in Melbourne.”
Both productions have seen theatre goers across the country dancing in the aisles to the soul music of the swingin‘ ’60s.