Tuesday, 27 January 2015

'A Little Night Music' at the Palace Theatre

On Monday we went to the Palace Theatre to see a staged concert version of Sondheim's 'A Little Night Music' to celebrate the show's 40th anniversary in London. I've seen the show twice before and enjoyed it both times, firstly the revival at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2008 and then the same production on Broadway in 2010 with Angela Lansbury and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and with Alexander Hanson playing Frederick in both shows.

This is possibly one of my favourite Sondheim's, not too challenging but quite delightful with great songs and roles for three generations of actors. It's nice and there's nothing wrong with nice. It's a tale of love, of ageing and still loving, of finding your true love and all of the characters find their lovers eventually (apart from Desiree's daughter, who has her life ahead of her). With some people it just takes a bit longer but it will come, don't worry...

There's a great score and some great songs - and not just 'Send In The Clowns' - with a lot of scope to make this show your own. I left this show wanting the concert cast to do a full on stage version - and a cast recording, obv - and I'd like it to open next weekend please. Can you arrange it?

It was the women who ruled this concert version, with Janie Dee as Desiree, Anne Reid as Mme Armfeldt (her mother), Joanna Riding as an incredibly deadpan Countess and Laura Pitt-Pulford as the earthy servant girl. They were all excellent and the sequence of Janie's 'Send In The Clowns', sitting at the front of the stage followed by Laura's feisty 'Millers Son' was marvellous. Anne Reid was great as the woman who's seen it all and Joanna was great fun as the disillusioned wife of the count who's having an affair with Desiree - such great one-liners! And kudos to Bibi Jay as Desiree's young daughter, Fredrika.

In the final moments of the show during the reprise of 'Send in the Clowns' Janie seemed to forget the lines of the song. Is that possible? So the orchestra stopped and started again so she and David Birrell (as Fredrick) could start again. Did she really forget the lines or was it an opportunity for her to milk the applause when she sang 'was that a farce' - I'm in two minds!

It was a great evening, lovely to hear that music and those songs again and to see those people on the stage. I'd say 'go if you can' but it was a one-off event. I hope there's another revival in the works since this is definitely a show worth seeing.

1 comment:

Massimiliano Riviera said...

I'm quite sure David Birrell forgot his lyrics in Send in the clowns reprise, actually