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.
The cast, like a fine soufflé, is full of first rate choices and rises to the occasion in exactly the right way. The singing here is glorious. The Gershwins make a lot of demands upon singers and Williams ensures that every note is hit truly and that the froth and bubble in the music is given full release. The dance routines in Nice Work If You Can Get It, Stiff Upper Lip, I Can’t Be Bothered Now, French Pastry Walk and Fidgety Feet are effortlessly engaging, thrilling to watch. As you emerge from the auditorium, it is impossible not be cheery.