Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Little Night Music (The SOB Review)

A Little Night Music (The SOB Review) - Menier Chocolate Factory, London, United Kingdom

**** (out of ****)

Isn't it rich?!

Who would have thought that a show staged in a style so deceptively simple could be so sublime, not to mention utterly romantic. Rich, indeed.

Now, if you're not a romantic at heart, you need not bother. But for the rest of us, Trevor Nunn's gorgeous revival of A Little Night Music is pure heaven. It enveloped every one of my senses like a welcome salve for these troubled times.

While the tuner opened last night at London's Menier Chocolate Factory, I caught the production Saturday evening and found myself positively transported. Only a heart of stone could not be moved by Stephen Sondheim's ravishing score and Hugh Wheeler's über-clever book.

But thanks to Nunn's deft and gentle touch, this tale of requited love in turn-of-the-20th-Century Sweden feels timeless, transcending all expectations. It is sure to make you feel a twinge in your heart and leave a tear in your eye. Yes, all is forgiven for Gone With The Wind - The Musical; in fact, this production has more nuance per tune than that dreaded musical had in the entire show.

Nunn benefits from a uniformly superb cast. Of particular note is the sensationally sensuous and saucy Hannah Waddingham as forty-something actress Desirée Armfeldt. Waddingham possesses a charm that's reminiscent of Julie Andrews.

Then there's the enchanting Maureen Lipman, who steals virtually every scene as Desirée's witty sage of a mother Madame Arnfeldt. The enormously talented Gabriel Vick takes on the heartsick Henrick -- mark my words, with his extraordinary voice, Vick is a major musical find and one actor worth watching.

There's little doubt that the bewitching allure of this excellent revival will follow other Menier productions to the West End, but how about to Broadway?

Well, maybe next year ... or so we can hope!

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 04 December, 2008, Blogger Vance said...

Damnit. I'm so jealous. And just as I won't be getting to go to London until late March after this will have closed (oh please please please extend!)

At 04 December, 2008, Blogger Sarah B. Roberts said...

I knew you would love it!

At 04 December, 2008, Blogger Kevin Daly said...

That is the Sondheim revival I've been waiting for all my life. Glad you had a fantastic time!!

To think it's been absent from Broadway for over 35 years...

At 04 December, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am BURNING with jealousy. ALNM is one of my very favorite musicals. I just don't have the budget to go to London anytime soon and I'm praying hard that this production makes it to Broadway.

At 05 December, 2008, Blogger JohnnyFox said...

If you were in last Saturday, did you spot Stephen Sondheim in the audience? Apparently he was there and, according to Hannah Waddingham, confessed that he was moved to tears - unusually - in the first half. She also said he was dressed like a tramp.


At 05 April, 2009, Anonymous James said...

In a perfect world, there would always be a top-notch production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's A Little Night Music running nearby. This isn't a perfect world, so the production of Night Music at the White Plains Performing Arts Center was a rare and lovely treat.

At 28 May, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm guessing everyone knows by now, but a Broadway revival is set to happen! Trevor Nunn and his creative team are currently in casting for the Broadway production, with a tentative December '09 opening. This is so exciting!

At 28 May, 2009, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Anonymous - I'm equally excited and have even tweeted about the upcoming Broadway transfer. I also wouldn't mind seeing the original cast come stateside. They were superb.


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