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Sweet Charity at the Hayes Theatre Co

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by Katherine Thomas (subscribe)
Having spent the last few years living abroad I now wish to rediscover my home city of Sydney to keep that 'travelling feeling' and share my findings with those that might want a bit of inspiration.
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Superb cast, affordable tickets, engage your senses at Hayes
Most people have heard the phrase 'Big Spender', and many have heard of 'Sweet Charity'. If you haven't, never fear. The newly opened Hayes Theatre Company in Potts Point can introduce you to both with their latest production of the iconic Broadway musical 'Sweet Charity'.

Sweet Charity is an iconic, ageless musical due to its thematic base; marginalised sectors of society and their quest for better lives. Most people can relate to the struggle for self-improvement and the bettering of ones circumstances. The poignant sweetness and naivety of the central character Charity engages the audience and they share her joys, hopes and heartache.

From the moment you enter the theatre you are transported to the underworld of pink neon lights selling the female flesh available to you, the actors already on stage; leering and cajoling you to take a dance with them. This immediate onslaught of activity sets the tone of the dance hall, and engages the audience directly with the characters as they themselves are cajoled directly. Despite the material debuting in the 60s, the themes, dialogue and action is still as relevant today as it was so many years ago which encourages people to reflect on the structure of society and treatment of different social groups, and what is considered acceptable behaviour.

The actors are all fantastic and a true testament to the strength of the Australian performing arts scene. Those that regularly enjoy the theatre will be impressed with the strength of the entire cast, the smart use of space in a stage without wings, the interaction with the audience and stellar costume choices. There is plenty to thrill non-theatre goers as well and hopefully convert them. The content is not for everyone and should be assessed before bringing young adults or more reserved individuals to the performance. This is in no way a criticism but mere guidance as the content is of an adult nature and many of the girls are in lingerie so it might not be appropriate or enjoyable for all ages and individuals.

One cannot discuss the performance without making note of the incredible talent of Verity Hunt-Ballard in the title role of Charity. Verity maintains an American accent throughout the performance, she sings, she dances but most of all she feels and takes the audience with her on her emotional journey. She is to be commended on an outstanding performance with perfect pitch, high vocal strength and her obvious joy and enthusiasm for the production is evident in her every breath.

Another shining star of the show was Lisa Sontag as Helene. Lisa shone whilst on stage with the ensemble, and also performed a strong rendition of 'There's gotta be something better than this'. She managed to portray a woman whom as lost her youthful optimism and spirit, yet has not turned hard of heart. It was moving to watch her performance as she interacted with Verity to demonstrate the balance of love and encouragement mixed with realism without overshadowing the scripted 'mother figure' role of Nikki.

Whilst many smaller theatre companies may serve up performances that just slightly miss the mark and leave the audience wanting more, you will depart Sweet Charity discussing the quality of the actors, the innovative set and feel satisfied that you have seen a good piece of theatre. It fits the bill for talent, design and moving content and is a credit to all involved. We would expect nothing less from the sensational David Campbell, Lisa Campbell, Richard carroll & Neil Gooding (Producers) and can only wait for more. The Hayes Theatre Company is sure to become a mainstay venue on the theatre & cabaret circuit to rival Belvoir in reputation if it continues this strong start with their following productions in 2014.

Sweet Charity will be continuing to run at the Hayes Theatre company until March 9th 2014 Tuesday to Saturday 8pm, with a double bill on the weekends (Saturday matinee at 2pm, and Sunday additional show at 5pm). Tickets are $49 (Adults) or $42 (concession). Refreshments are available prior to the show and during intermission starting from $4.

The next production at the Hayes Theatre Company will be 'The Drowsy Chaperone' which follows a brazen Broadway starlet trying to find love. Performances run between March 14 & April 6th so get in early before the word gets out that the Hayes is the place to see and be seen!

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*Katherine Thomas was invited as a guest
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Why? Engage with the underworld
When: Tuesdays - Sundays; February 7-March 9
Phone: 02 8065 7337
Where: Hayes Theatre Company
Cost: $42 - $49
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