Review: Sweet Charity (Edinburgh Fringe 2011) JohnnyFox August 15, 2011 Musicals, Reviews The idea that the Neil Simon-scripted 60’s musical and Shirley MacLaine vehicle in which taxi dancer Charity Hope Valentine’s cheerful optimism survives all misfortunes should be transposed to a gay bar and bath-house on the Lower East Side is intriguing. Realistically, that’s the only good thing about this show. The opening “Big Spender” is set in a convincingly dirty urinal and features drag queens changing into leather for a fetish night, but it’s quickly apparent that these performers don’t have a singing or acting bone in their bodies and what’s left is an embarrassing hour during which the audience is largely agape at the awfulness of the entire project. Cast and credits were unavailable, but the standard is universally dire, none more so than Charity’s dashing film-star Latin lover, played here as a lardy clod whose hair overhangs his expressionless face, or his two best friends who collectively crucify “Dream Your Dream” at least twice during the evening. The cast are not helped by the staging (the urinals remain in view throughout), the accompaniment wherein Cy Coleman‘s glorious tunes are played inaccurately and without regard to variation of tempo or dynamics on a wheezingly emphysemic synthesizer, or by choreography so predictably conceived and inexpertly performed you have to watch it through your fingers. There is nudity and simulated sex but tastelessly inappropriate and flabbily acted such that they lend new meaning to the American phrase ‘bad ass’. Originally published on What’s On Stage.