book by Hugh Wheeler music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
suggested by a film by Ingmar Bergman.

Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre 53 Hoe Street Walthamstow E17 4SA To 31 October 2015.
Tue–Sat 7.30pm. Mat Sun 3pm.
Runs 2hr 45min One interval.

TICKETS: 020 8509 3880.
Review: William Russell 11 October.

A summer night of romance, intrigue and death.
Tim McArthur’s production of this Sondheim musical is brisk, efficient and well-drilled, but it does to some extent miss the bitter sweetness that infuses this tale of love lost, desire and the passage of time.

Part of the problem is that, although some roles are strongly cast, several of the performances are simply too strident and the ensemble in particular needs to calm down a bit. There is far too much face-pulling and acting by characters not in the plot.

Admittedly the theatre is partly to blame for some of the problems as the acoustics are ghastly, with the result that sometimes the orchestra is too loud, at other times the singers. In addition some of the cast have a problem deciding just how strongly to pitch their voices. In Sondheim the words matter, but there is no need to be so loud – there is no back of the Gods to hit.

Lawyer Frederik Egerman (Alexander McMorran) has a young second wife, Anne (Maria Coyne), who is still a virgin. His son Henrik (Joshua Considine), who is going to become a pastor, is in love with his step-mother.

Into their lives comes Desiree Armfeldt (Sarah Waddell), an itinerant actress with an aged mother, once a grande horizontale, a young daughter called Frederika, and a pompous soldier-lover who has an unhappy wife.

All sorts of complications and beddings ensue. Joshua Considine makes young Henrik believably frustrated with lust, but Maria Coyne, while she sings well, overdoes the girlish giggles and shrieks as his step-mother.

As Desiree’s wheelchair confined mama, Madame Armfeldt, Lindsey Murray, however, is a model of restraint and, although really too young for the role, delivers ‘Liaisons’, her big Act One number about her wicked past, impeccably.

The show works well enough – it is one of Sondheim’s better musicals – but there really is a lot more to it than we see here.

Desiree Armfeldt: Sarah Waddell.
Frederik Egerman: Alexander McMorran.
Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm: Samuel Baker.
Countess Charlotte Malcolm: Jamie Birkett.
Anne Egerman: Maria Coyne.
Madame Armfeldt: Lindsey Murray.
Henrik Egerman: Joshua Considine.
Petra: Jodie Beth Meyer.
Mr Lindquist: Tim Southgate.
Mrs Nordstrom: Lily De La Haye.
Mr Erlanson: Stewart Briggs.
Mrs Segstrom: Sarah Dearlove.
Mrs Anderssen: Kim Bergkvist.
Frederika Armfeldt: Kerry Loosemore.
Frid: Tom Whalley.
Malla: Sarah Yeomans.

Director/Musical Staging: Tim McArthur.
Designer/Costume: Nik Corrall.
Lighting: James Docherty.
Musical Director: Aaron Clingham.
Choreographer: Simon Fielding.
Assistant director: Thom Sellwood.

2015-10-12 00:27:33

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