Composer: Steven Sondheim
Director: Alastair Knights
Reviewer: Fran Beaton
Janie Dee is fabulous and beautiful. Anything she is in is worth watching. Add to that the incredibly talented Damian Humbley and you find yourself watching a five-star show.
Putting it Together comprises of songs from a variety of Sondheim musicals, merged into one with a vague story linking it up. Unlike other ‘mash up’ musicals, this show doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is tongue in cheek from the beginning. This allows the success of the music to be the focal point.
It is easy to forget just how many beautiful songs Sondheim has composed and, therefore, this celebratory review is perfect, combining pieces from Follies, Sweeney Todd, Company, etc. Every performance is near enough flawless, with so much character injected. It is hard to select stand out pieces, except of course the whole company performance of Being Alive which moves most of the audience to tears. Dee’s Not Getting Married Today practically had the audience on its feet halfway through the second act.
For me, it was Humbley and David Bedella’s Pretty Women. Their voices work remarkably well together and Humbley is able to showcase his ability to range for sensitive and subtle to full-scale belt. Also worth a mention is Unworthy of Your Love, performed by Humbley and Caroline Sheen.
Daniel Crossley, who kind of looks like Daniel Craig, does not slot into the story as the others do, but he comes well and truly into his own in Buddy’s Blues. It is incredibly rare to see someone move as well as he does and to be able to throw himself from chair to floor without losing a note shows real talent.
St. James’ Theatre is a wonderful little theatre with a really exciting upcoming season. Putting it Together kicks 2014 off brilliantly. It is a flawless production and thoroughly deserving of five stars.
Runs until 1 February 2014 | Image: Mike Eddowes