CHARITY Hope Valentine is a modern woman looking for love, dreaming of meeting a man. A handsome "Prince" who'll sweep her off her feet.
Who can blame her, wanting to escape her dead end job as a dance hall hostess, which is as seedy as it sounds? Even though there's a strong camaraderie between her and her colleagues, who are like a second family to our heroine, looking out for both Charity and each other.
Her prayers just might have been answered when she meets the uptight Oscar, a graduate, it seems of the Woody Allen school of neurotics. The intimate scenes between Oscar (1Daniel Crossley) and Charity (Kasia Hammarlund) are comedy gold, beautifully played by two actors at the very top of their craft.
In my former life as a newspaper reporter I interviewed Elaine Paige and the legend of modern musicals was very generous with her praise of today's stage talent. I don't know if she's aware of Ms Hammarlund but hers is one of the most engaging performances I've seen in 25 plus years of reviewing at the RET. A bundle of energy, she has it all, from the voice to the comedy timing, used to such devastating effect in the scenes with both Oscar and the silver tongued Italian Vintorio Vidal (Bob Harms).
With some stylish and often sexy choreography, choreographer Aletta Collins has done a fabulous job here, it's fair to say the Exchange has a massive musical hit on its hands. The deal pre or post Christmas treat, that's sure to have you leaving theatre walking on air and laughing in the face of your post Christmas credit card bill. Brilliant.
* Until January 28. The box office is on 0161 833 9833. Star rating - *****