The Dobbie Hall is well and truly alive and singing with the sound of the swinging 60s thanks to this year’s Larbert Amateur Operatic Society (LAOS) production.
Audiences are in for a treat when they take in Sweet Charity, a show which combines vintage hits of that decade, such as Big Spender and The Rhythm of Life, with high-end dance routines and some equally eye-catching outfits.
Based on the original screenplay by Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli and Ennio Flaiano, LAOS’ latest stageshow falls in the society’s 95th anniversary year — and it has chosen a fine way to mark the milestone by reprising this Broadway classic.
Sweet Charity centres on the near-constant disappointment of lead character Charity Hope Valentine’s love life.
Played by the effervescent and vocally-skilled Michelle Weston, Charity is a trusting-yet-gullible dance hall hostess at the Fandango Ballroom who is forever making poor choices and lending both her heart and money to the wrong man.
Despite being offered regular advice by her fellow hostesses Helene (Chiara Sportelli) and Nickie (Greer Robertson), she has a habit of going against the grain and making her own chaotic choices.
After being thrown into a lake by her ‘fiance’, who then steals her purse, Charity is naturally left feeling worthless.
A nightclub encounter with 1960s film star Vittorio Vidal (Colin Fawkes) — with regular interference from his on-off partner Ursula March (Jo Simpson) — causes Charity to dare to dream. Unsurprisingly, she is put out in the cold once more.
The withering put-downs of Charity’s Fandango Ballroom manager Herman (Stewart Borthwick) plus the trippy tones of hippy and Rhythm of Life church preacher Daddy Brubeck (Andrew Gibson) are comical and worthy of a mention.
Charity eventually decides to leave her stalling life behind and enrols at a night school class where she meets the charming-but-shy Oscar Lindquist (John Coe).
A faulty lift leaves the pair stranded with only each other for company and romance soon begins.
Whether or not the protagonist will achieve her happily ever after dream with Oscar is the dilemma which drives the action on.
While the lead characters all deliver impressive individual performances, a stage production is only ever as strong as the sum of its parts — and Sweet Charity most definitely is.
And with a highly gifted full cast of more than 40, director Derek D Easton has a wealth of supporting actors and actresses to call upon.
The manner in which the show’s Movers and Groovers carry out the colourful dances, choreographed by Yolande Borthwick, is testament to their skillsets.
Credit must also be given to musical director and conductor Jan Cunnigham.
She leads a talented troupe of musicians who provide the soundtrack for an array of cast members to step forward into the limelight to demonstrate their singing prowess.
One of the most impressive parts of the show was undoubtedly the unexpectedness of some of the songs, especially those which involved an unlikely cast member taking on the lead singing role.
I don’t want to give too much away, however, there are more than a few surprises for audience members to enjoy.
Sweet Charity will take those of a certain vintage on a trip down memory lane.
Performances of Sweet Charity will run each night at the Dobbie Hall on Main Street in Larbert until Saturday, May 12, with each show starting at 7.30pm.
Regular-priced briefs for tonight’s showing (Thursday) cost £10, while concessions can be bought for £8. All tickets for the Friday and Saturday shows cost £10.
Call 073797 99250 or search for ‘Larbert Amateur Operatic Society’ online to reserve seats.