Sweet Charity - Edinburgh Fringe Review (Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group)

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Photo credit: EUSOG Facebook page

Despite a welcome abundance of plays from the University of Edinburgh (over 30 per year), there are only a handful of musicals, in fact, there's only 4 regular gigs, 2 of which being at the Fringe, so I jump at the opportunity to see the performances of these musicals - Sweet Charity was no exception, I was there on second night.

The standout performance, was, of course, Charity, played by Tilly Botsford. She's one of those performers you just know that you'll be seeing in the West End in the next few years, and if you don't see her there, it's because she's gone straight to Broadway. I think that summarises her performance, absolutely stunning on every level. Enough said.

There were many other great performances, notably Rupert Waley as "Vittorio", who so brilliantly captured the essence of the character, combined with an unexpectedly incredible voice.

Ewan Bruce was also excellent as "Oscar"; who's level of acting more than made up for the fact his other suits were not quite as strong (but still perfectly good). 

In the ensemble, Amelia Chinnock-Schumann stood out as a fantastic dancer, along with Angus Bhattacharya, who stood out as a fantastic actor. Both performers, along with most other ensemble members, had minor spoken roles, but my attention was constantly drawn to them and the big ensemble numbers.

One aspect of the play I found particularly memorable was the costumes, both for good and bad reasons. I thought the mesh aesthetics on the costumes was brilliant, but I have very few major theatre-based pet peeves. Black t-shirts are one of them - I hate it when black t-shirts are worn to show that an actor is "out of character" because it isn't even a budget constraint - black t-shirts in bulk are around the same price as white collared shirts in bulk. With that said, the greatness of the actual costumes did outweigh this distraction.

The set was appropriate for the Fringe - basic, effective and creative - not much more else to say. The lights were also excellent, creating scenes such as the bond very effectively. 

The sound was a slightly different story, I often struggled to hear minor characters speak as they weren't microphoned. I can only hope that this was sorted later in the run because all of the performers are fantastic and deserve their time to shine.

Unfortunately, I just think the wrong show was chosen to perform. It felt like a lot of the performers belonged on the stage, just not necessarily with that show. It was a dance heavy show, and the ensemble's singing skills were far higher than their dancing, in general. 

Overall, "Sweet Charity" was enjoyable, but just missed the mark in a couple of places, and was a significantly lower standard than other things I've seen from the same company. I hope that this changes in the future, as EUSOG generally have a very high standard!

Verdict: ★★★

"Sweet Charity" has now finished it's run at the Edinburgh Fringe, but be sure to like the "EUSOG" page on Facebook to see what they do next!


By Lewis Forman


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