Stephen Sondheim

Quick catch-up…

Programmes April 2015

It’s been a hectic old time the last few weeks, so capturing thoughts on performances has rather got forgotten. They’ve been a diverse bunch as well.

So, in brief: (more…)

All hail Madame Rose

Chichester Festival Theatre - Gypsy title image

Chichester Festival Theatre – Gypsy title image

Back from a weekend in delightful Chichester – a place I’ll definitely be back to and not only for the wonderful hospitality of the friend we were visiting. Our first, flying visit was memorable not least for an absolutely sensational performance of the Jule Styne/Stephen Sondheim/Arthur Laurents musical, Gypsy.

Jonathan Kent used the thrust stage to great effect, and from our £15 side stalls seats (stunning value!) we were able to enjoy the show with relatively little compromise. It was fast-paced, sassy and touching. A lovely transition, mid-dance number, between the ‘Baby June/Baby Louise’ and the older daughters was well-executed and gave comic effect to the tiresome sense of the poor things having been doing the same old shtick for years. (more…)

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. (more…)

Sweeney Todd, Adelphi Theatre

What a sensational night at the theatre. Sondheim’s masterwork can scarcely have had a better outing since Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou.

The production moved seamlessly and smoothly through the many shifting locations, with lighting always finely judged: the oven and the meat grinder brooded in the shadows, Mrs Lovett’s parlour was suffused with dim warmth and her newly-busy pie shop was lit so as to bring the bustling details to life. Cages and doors swung open and clanged shut across the back of the curved set, and the pie-shop-cum-tonsorial-parlour swung on and turned gently to throw up shifting perspectives and views, all adding slightly to the tension. People came out on to the galleries high up on the set to comment on the action (as the chorus), just to watch, or for some of the principals’ perambulations. Jonathan Kent has done the work proud, his opera experience perhaps contributing to skilful handling of many characters, chorus, and fast changing scenes. (more…)

Sondheim 80th Birthday Celebration, Cadogan Hall, 3 April 2010

This is, I think, the third of these Sondheim extravaganzas I’ve been to at Cadogan Hall, all of them centred on Maria Friedman.  On this occasion she was joined by Graham Bickley, Daniel Evans and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with David Firman as musical director.