People always say Sondheim: you either love him of hate him. But regardless of what you think, no one can deny, the man is a genius.
Putting It Together opened at the St James Theatre tonight with another star-studded gala. The show is a romp through Stephen Sondheim’s most loved shows. Follies, Sunday In a The Park With George, Company, Into The Woods and of course Merrily We Roll Along were just some of the classic shows cleverly interwoven together into a two hour show.
David Bedella, Daniel Crossley and Damian Humbley gave incredible performances, both in a group and as soloists. However it is the women that steal the show here. Janie Dees Not Getting Married Today (from Company) was incredible. Anyone who can memorise that many lyrics and still deliver them with such humour, is someone who deserves to be bowed down to and praised. Caroline Sheen delivered her lines with comedy and sass, making me believe she could steal just about anyone’s husband, if she wanted to.
I was mesmerised by Oboe/Cor Anglais player Lorraine Hart in the band, whose nervous (yet endearing) style was completely over-powered by the fact you could see she was feeling every note of the songs (regardless of if she was playing or not).
Director Alastair Knights made this plethora of Sondheim classics feel like a whole new show, seamlessly moving from one to another and back again. Every move was perfect.
If you’re not familiar with Sondheim’s work then Putting It Together is the perfect introductory guide to why this man is such a celebrated figure in theatre. And if you already love him, this will be an eargasm that will leave you begging for more.
Putting It Together runs at the St James Theatre until 1st February 2014.
Photo credit: Mike Eddowes