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.
Drawing on material from interviews, tv shows and transcripts, Jonathan Maitland’s An Audience With Jimmy Saville explores the most shocking sex scandal of our time. Writer Jonathan Maitland, whose acclaimed debut play Dead Sheep about Margaret Thatcher and Geoffrey Howe recently broke Park Theatre box office records, explains, “An Audience with Jimmy Savile is a drama based on real events. It uses material from multiple sources including books, transcripts of police interviews, witness statements and several official inquiries. It also uses testimony from face-to-face interviews given to me by survivors of abuse. Some scenes involving Jimmy Savile have been created but they use actual and paraphrased quotes from him over a period of 60 years. Whilst researching this play I have met and worked with groups such as NAPAC (a leading charity for adults abused in childhood) Phil’s Petition and Slater and Gordon (the Law firm representing more than 160 … Read more
In the case of Betty Buckley as Carlotta, the casting was inspired. Her powerful and joyful rendition of I’m Still Here stopped the show. But it was Anita Dobson’s self-deprecating turn as Stella which finally galvanised the entire company into glorious cohesion: her attack in Who’s That Woman was splendid (a gutsy belt matched her tap-dancing prowess) and she and all of the other women acquitted themselves well in bringing Andrew Wright’s clever choreography to life. The younger versions of Sally, Phyllis, Ben and Buddy were spot-on, engaging and sublime. Christine Baranski’s Phyllis was brittle, regal and immaculately stylish.