MARRY ME A LITTLE
By Stephen Sondheim
St James Theatre Studio, 12 Palace Street, London SW1 E to 10 August 2014
Evenings 8pm. Mat Sat & Sun 3pm. Sun 10 August 7pm
Runs 1hr 15 mins No interval, to 10 08 14
TICKETS: 0844 264 2140
Review: William Russell, 05 08 14
Marriage on the rocks.
Conceived by the playwright Craig Lucas and Norman Rene this gossamer thin affair consists of songs by Stephen Sondheim which were written, but not used in most cases, for various musicals – some were dropped in out of town tryouts, some didn’t even make it that far. Sondheim allowed Lucas to use some of his collection of unused, in some cases unpublished, songs for this slender, almost anorexic, two hander.
A couple are splitting up and as she packs up her belongings he downs a drink or two and they reflect on the good times, the bad times and the bits in between. It really amounts to little more than a digestive or an aperitif of a show, something to be seen before or after dinner, but as always Sondheim’s way with words, those romantic moments punctured with blistering cynicism, works splendidly and some of the songs, although not all, are pretty terrific in their own right.
It is also helped by first rate performances from Laura Pitt-Pulford as Woman and Simon Bailey as Man. They have no problems coping with those tricky Sondheim lyrics and the punishingly long melodic lines. David Randall supports them superbly at the piano. But one longs for a decent story line and for all the skill shown by Lucas and Rene in selecting the material it remains a patchwork rather than something thought through.
Man: Simon Bailey
Woman: Laura Pitt-Pulford
Director: Hannah Chissick
Musical Director: David Randall
Choreographer: Nick Winston
Designer: Simon Anthony Wells
Lighting Designer: Derek Anderson