Mark Ludmon reviews the new London production of the Sondheim on Sondheim revue at the Royal Festival Hall Sondheim on Sondheim Royal Festival Hall 16 March 2018 Five stars Even the most lavish musical productions in the West End may stretch to only 20 musicians, with most having far fewer, so a one-off staging of Broadway hit Sondheim on Sondheim with the BBC Concert Orchestra was a rare opportunity to hear Stephen Sondheim’s music in all its richly orchestrated splendour. Add to this six of the best musical theatre performers around, and you have a captivating evening of Sondheim songs ranging from something familiar to something peculiar. This is a symphonic version of the Sondheim on Sondheim revue that premiered in New York City in 2010, which was immortalised in a superb cast recording. It slightly trims the original show but retains most of the video interviews and clips that reveal candid … Read more
Follies National Theatre, 8th September 2017 5 Stars Book Follies Tickets Folly is an interesting concept: it has fascinated the western mind all the way from Erasmus of Rotterdam’s philosphical contemplation, through the artificial landscaping constructions that adorn the estates of Stowe and Stourhead, Ermenonville and Versailles, to the variety entertainments of late 19th century Paris, and into the area which principally concerns this epic musical divertissement based upon the idea: the expensive and spectacular early 20th century Broadway revues of Florenz Ziegfeld. Oddly, a lot of time seems to have been spent worrying about whether this show, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book – or at least ‘scenes’ – by James Goldman, is ‘really’ a musical or just some kind of astonishing hybrid failure: its original producer Harold Prince dubbed it a ‘long-running flop’. While these practical questions have merit, they detract from the actual … Read more
Casting has been announced today for the new musical Miss Atomic Bomb. Welcome to Las Vegas in 1952, where every mushroom cloud has a silver lining and fallout is your friend. As the US military proudly tests its atomic bombs within sight of the Vegas strip, tourists are flocking into town to cheer the blasts and see who will be crowned the Miss Atomic Bomb beauty queen. But in the midst of this euphoria, farm girl Candy’s (Florence Andrews) sheep have mysteriously died, her fashionista friend Myrna (Catherine Tate) is designing clothes for pigs, young soldier Joey (Dean John-Wilson) has deserted the army, and his hapless hotel manager brother Lou (Simon Lipkin) desperately needs an atomic gimmick. In a city controlled by the military and the mob, time is running out for our four friends. Casting for Miss Atomic Bomb will include Award winning star of TV and theatre, Catherine … Read more
There was a charming mix of reverence and irreverence as well, making the audience feel specially entertained and complicit with the in-jokes. The warm up prelude, People Who Like Sondheim (performed with zing by Kit and McConnel) was good fun and the duo appeared throughout as a kind of Sondheim Statler and Waldorf with witty and barbed repartee. In the second Act though, one of the unarguable surprise sensations of the evening was a five minute romp through 33 Sondheim compositions, “Ladies and gentlemen may we have your attention please…” presented with real style and panache by Martin Milnes and Dominic Ferris. These cabaret contributions provided some much needed innovative content.
It’s great to see so many people of all ages enjoying and loving The Sound Of Music. There’s a magic about the Sound Of Music that defies explanation, generation after generation fall in love with this tale of family, love and adversity and the message of hope that it expels into the audience in wave after wave. How could you do anything but love it.