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Putting It Together

“Enjoyable sondheim revue”

Those unable to get a ticket for Marianne Elliott’s well-received, gender-swapped reimagining of Company can console themselves with this enjoyable – if insubstantial – canter through Stephen Sondheim’s other works.

Like Company, this musical revue – devised by Sondheim and Julia McKenzie in 1992 – concerns a group of well-heeled Manhattanites in various stages of romantic entanglements but is a frothier, less cohesive affair. It exists largely to give Sondheim devotees another opportunity to bask in his plaintive melodies and spikily lyrical dexterity, but also showcases a more playful, self-deprecating side that could tip over into chummy self-indulgence in the wrong hands.

Bronagh Lagan’s fluidly co-ordinated production mostly walks this perilously fine line well. Andrew Gallo’s narrator-come-barman is less assured with the in-jokes but sings well and interacts seamlessly with the two couples on Natalie Johnson’s well-proportioned set. William Whelton’s choreography maximises the venue’s limited space, especially the punchy matadorial moves that accompany the tango-like Bang!

Some songs feel crow-barred in, while others – like Unworthy of Your Love, a paean to killer Charles Manson from 1990’s Assassins reworked as a sweet duet between two lovers – benefit hugely from being shorn of their original context. Elsewhere, Gavin James brings a smooth Sinatra-esque insouciance to Have I Got a Girl For You.

But it wouldn’t amount to much more than a fun distraction if it wasn’t for Lauren James Ray, whose performance – whether breaking hearts with Every Day a Little Death or rising to the challenge of the machine-gun delivery of Company’s Not Getting Married Today – provides an emotional through-line that is otherwise absent.

Company starring Rosalie Craig and Patti LuPone review at the Gielgud Theatre – ‘astonishing’

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Production Details
Production namePutting It Together
VenueHope Mill Theatre
StartsOctober 24, 2018
EndsNovember 24, 2018
Running time2hrs
ComposerStephen Sondheim
Book writerJulia McKenzie, Stephen Sondheim
LyricistStephen Sondheim
DirectorBronagh Lagan
Musical directorMichael Webborn
ChoreographerWilliam Whelton
Set designerNatalie Johnson
Lighting designerDerek Anderson
Sound designerJames Nicolson
CastGavin James, Alex Cardall, Andrew Gallo, Lauren James Ray, Simbi Akande
Stage managerCatherine Mizrahi
ProducerAria, Hope Mill Theatre
VerdictEnjoyable sojourn to Sondheim-land that doesn’t quite hit the heights of his greater, more cohesive works
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Chris Bartlett

Chris Bartlett

Chris Bartlett

Chris Bartlett

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