Putting It Together

Various Sondheim-collation shows have been put together over the years, seemingly attempts to mine his ‘best bits’ and avoid the longueurs that bedevil the sophisticated concepts in some of his full works. Surely, of them all, Putting It Together is the best.

As presented at the St James Theatre (a modest, modern, amphitheatre-style room), this case is well-made. Framed around two couples, older and younger, and a sort of ‘chorus’ figure, who comments on the action and occasionally takes part, it provides myriad opportunities for showcasing Sondheim’s insight into modern relationships. David Bedella, Daniel Crossley, Janie Dee, Damian Humbley and Caroline Sheen were all on great form, with biting numbers like Ladies Who Lunch, There’s Always a Woman, Not Getting Married and Could I Leave You? counterpointed with the more poignant Every Day a Little Death, Bang!, and Do I Hear a Waltz?  A six-piece band gave fulsome accompaniment, and the simple stage let the characters speak for themselves.

It was the most simply enjoyable theatre I’ve seen in a while. It closes today, I think, and I hope it’s back very soon.

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