We take a look at being said about the show which celebrates the work of the late composer.
Theatre & Tonic: ***** “Overall, Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends is an incredibly strong show. Not only is this because of the songwriting talent of the man himself but also the exceptional performances from every single member of the cast. No matter your favourite Sondheim show, I don’t think you would be disappointed.”
The Guardian: *** “One could quibble with some of the selections: why so much from Gypsy and West Side Story when he only wrote the lyrics? The answer, of course, is to reel in very different generations of fans. That’s show business, a love of which animates the ensemble numbers, against a multi-dimensional design by Matt Kinley (set) and George Reeve (projection) and Warren Letton (lighting), which segues from New York skyline to Parisian waterside and miniature burlesque theatre. There are enough high points along the way to suggest that perhaps it is best enjoyed as a pointillist painting, “made of flecks of light and dark and parasols”.”
Theatre Weekly: “This longer run of Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity to see so many theatrical greats all on stage at the same time. It’s appeal beyond this limited engagement is questionable, but in terms of honouring the work of Stephen Sondheim it’s a triumph, and may just introduce audiences to the wonderful sound of his musicals that are not often heard on London stages.”
London Theatre.co.uk: ***** “Part of the fun is the deliberate mix of assignments, so that people associated with one song watch as their number is handed off elsewhere. Janie Dee, for instance, was a knockout in Follies singing “Could I Leave You” – the same bitter solo crescendo that is now handed to Lee.”
West End Best Friend: ***** “What a night! There are so many talented stars on the stage – a complete theatrical constellation.”
Attitude.co.uk: ***** “Sondheim is in an altogether different class. He prided himself on making the music serve the story and, as both composer and lyricist, his works explore adult themes in probing, complex ways. Even Into The Woods, which is the closest he came to writing a kids’ show, turns dark and disturbing. As this revue underlines magnificently, he also wrote wonderfully for older women. The guys here are all great but the ladies steal it.”
Broadway World: ***** “Whether you are an old friend of Sondheim or a new one, you will leave the theatre moved, thoroughly entertained and surely breathless for a revival or three.”
WhatsOnStage: ***** “Each song has its brilliance but the overall impact of the show – beautifully played by the orchestra, under conductor Alfonso Casado Trigo – springs from the way it knits together a lot of moments into a satisfying whole. It is both a tribute to Sondheim and an exploration of the qualities of curiosity, intelligence, humour and high seriousness that made him a giant of the theatre.”
City Am: **** “Fans will have already bought their tickets. But if Stephen Sondheim was a vague name in the back of your head, the good news is you really don’t need to know all the songs to enjoy this show. Each is an education in itself, plus haven’t the plots of musicals always been arbitrary anyway? Having just the songs without the burden of the story line gives everyone what they want.”
The Upcoming: **** “The more established, well-known members of the cast had worked with Sondheim in the past, while many had personal relationships with him, and you can tell through the reverent feeling of this show. Old Friends will take you on a nostalgic journey through some of the best numbers musical theatre has to offer, and leave you with a feeling of awe.”
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