Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sweet Charity (9 Works Theatrical)

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Charity Hope Valentine (Nikki Gil) is a dance hall hostess who seems to have nothing but bad luck when it comes to love, but still maintains a cheerful demeanor in life much to the chagrin of her dancer friends who see her as some sort of insufferable naive girl. En route to some lecture which she thinks she needs to turn her life around, she gets trapped in an elevator with claustrophobic bachelor Oscar (Kris Lawrence). Is he the answer to her prayers, or just another heartbreak waiting to happen?

The thing about Nikki Gil is that you could see her just enjoying her role. Do you sometimes notice how some theater actors tend to grandstand during a musical number that somehow they cease to be the characters they are portraying and instead become just singers for a while as if in a solo concert? This does not happen to Gil. What you see is the character singing, not the actor. She does not need to hog the spotlight because she nails her character, mannerisms and all. Members of the audience are also convinced, the proof of which are the plenty of cheers and applause they give every time she drops a one-liner or does something wacky. She also looks good in wigs. She should consider starring in a Cathy Garcia Molina movie.

What makes Sweet Charity so fun to watch aside from Gil's brilliant portrayal are the racy musical numbers. The combination of dim lights and glittery costumes just makes you feel like you are in a real night club. It is also good to note that the girls seem to have taken their choreography seriously, so enjoyable to watch! Big Spender is THE musical number to watch out for (think Chicago's Cell Block Tango), but the personal favorite would be the dance number after Charity meets Vittorio. The choreography there was just wow. The Big Spender number draws its appeal from the lewdness of it all. It is alluring, yes, but somehow as a group the girls seem to lack cohesion. Individually though, they know what they do quite well.

The support cast is okay. Sheree and Ciara Sotto are the more recognizable ones given their exposure in the mainstream. Of the two, Sheree is the one who gets to do a more convincing portrayal, accent and all, although Ciara gets more of the attention because of the crassness of her character. The elder woman in the cast who looks like Manny Pacquiao's mom also proves to be a scene stealer.

Kris Lawrence is good for a neophyte, or has he done some theater projects before? The only problem with him is his makeup, too much of it. The right side of his face appeared wrinkled, as if his lapel has been plastered all over it. Another thing, his intro to the song while they are trapped in the Parachute Jump ride is a bit inaudible. He reverted to singing pop for a while there but quickly recovered from it.

It ends in a not so happy note. Gil’s crying in this part is a bit too technical. Even with the tears everything still seems calculated. Nevertheless, she makes good use of the momentum to load her finale song with enough emotion and ends it with a glory note. The optimism of the character is just contagious and you are sure to leave the theater happy and hopeful.

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