This musical revue featuring songs that weren’t featured in some of Stephen Sondheim’s best known musicals is beautifully captured in this production.
Charming, elegant and stylish, Kirk Jameson’s production of Marry Me a Little has a lot to recommend it both visually and vocally that makes it immensely enjoyable to watch.
Formed of songs that were either cut or feature in Stephen Sondheim’s musicals such as A Little Night Music, Follies and Company, Marry Me a Little concentrates on two people who are lonely in the aftermath of a breakup.
There is so much to be admired in this sleek and heartfelt production that perfectly frames each of the songs as well as allowing Celinde Schoenmaker and Rob Houchen to really develop their characters.
Gregor Donnelly’s divided and contemporary set design allows both characters to perform side by side, really enhancing the sense of loneliness and regret that both characters express throughout. This proves to be particularly effective during numbers such as ‘Saturday Night’ and the gorgeous rendition of ‘Who Could be Blue’ – both of which are also atmospherically and warmly lit thanks to Sam Rowcliffe-Tanner’s inventive lighting design.
But there are some other lovely elements to this production as well – including the use of video to use to convey text messages and social media conversations that really help to showcase the relationship and the bittersweetness that the whole show has surrounding it. Even the way in which it has been all captured on film is beautifully done – the close up shots in particular capture the pure emotion of the show and the characters.
It is a production that consistently feels intimate, effectively drawing the audience into the story – despite the lack of dialogue. This is really down to the two heartbreaking and engaging performances from Celinde Schoenmaker and Rob Houchen, who both completely inhabit their roles beautifully while offering stunning vocals. In particular, Schoenmaker’s rendition of ‘The Girls of Summer’ is wonderfully sultry and mesmerising to witness. It makes for a wonderful contrast with ‘Marry Me a Little’ which is tender and earnest. Houchen particularly shines on ‘Bring on the Girls’ as his strength of feeling really comes through.
Overall, this is a high quality production that will really appeal to fans of Sondheim. Let’s hope we will be able to get to see this production live on stage again soon.
By Emma Clarendon
Marry Me a Little is streaming from the 19th to the 22nd November. For more information visit: https://barntheatre.org.uk/