Recorded at Barn Theatre – streaming 19-22 November 2020
Reviewed by Claire Roderick
Thankfully this glorious show had already been recorded before its run at the Barn Theatre was cut short by lockdown. A rummage through some of Sondheim’s discarded songs from A Little Night Music, Company and Follies creates a short and bittersweet musical revue that escapes its 1980’s origins in Kirk Jameson’s thoroughly modern production.
The woman (Celinde Schoenmaker) and man (Rob Houchen) in the show never meet, but we watch them in their apartments, side by side on Gregor Donnelly’s wonderful split set taking over lost relationships and dreaming of future happiness, on their own terms. A screen acts as the windows of their apartments and also displays messages and social media that link to the songs as there are no lines spoken in between. Rob Houchen singing Bring on the Girls as he swipes through Tinder places this production firmly in the present.
It’s Sondheim, all the songs are sublime, and in the hands of such talented artists this is heaven for lovers of musical theatre. Celine Schoenmaker’s sultry The Girls of Summer and powerful version of the title song are standout moments, and I could get emotional listening to Rob Houchen singing his shopping list, so can’t really give an objective opinion on his performance.
I loved every moment. Seeing them perform together is a real treat and they are completely enthralling as two lonely, damaged but hopeful people yearning for love. Another lockdown triumph from the Barn Theatre.