Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 23 June 2022
Five excellent performers gave a masterclass on Stephen Sondheim in Her Majesty’s Theatre last night. As well some beautiful renditions of his work, the evening was filled with reminiscences and anecdotes of the great man and past performances. They opened the evening with Old Friends from Merrily We Roll Along, a comfortable beginning and setting the mood for a very friendly evening.
They covered a wide variety of Sondheim’s works with some mixing and matching but each member had highlights. Mitchell Butel, who has had fewer Sondheim roles than the others, sang Not While I’m Around from Sweeney Todd, a role he would have liked to play. Josie Lane re-lived her stint as Little Red by giving us a lovely version of I Know Things Now from Into The Woods, Queenie van de Zendt delivered a spine-tingling rendering of Last Midnight from the same show and later in a different vein Not a Day Goes By from Merrily We Roll Along. All of the singers demonstrated their versatility and acting skills.
The wonderful voice of Philip Quast gave us The Road You Didn’t Take from Follies and Fear No More from The Frogs as well as proving some amusement with Butel by doing Lovely from A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. The showstoppers undoubtedly came from the indomitable Geraldine Turner when she sang Send in the Clowns from A Little Night Music and the hilarious Ladies Who Lunch from Company, just splendid! Turner showed her depth of talent and immense stage presence.
Apart from all these magical solos they combined their talents in many other pieces, A Little Priest (Sweeney) and Agony (Woods) were special favourites, along with A Boy Like That/I Have a Love (Westside Story), Sunday in the Park with George and It Takes Two (Woods).
All of this was backed by another excellent band, lead by Josh an Konkelenberg on keys who due to Covid only took over the role of MD a couple of days before opening. The small ensemble, consisted of John McDermott on drums, violins Christina Guala and Vashti Tyrell with the brilliant Alana Dawes on Bass.
In all it was a first-class evening of entertainment.
Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Season Ended – One Night Only
Rating out of 5: 5
Photo Credit: Claudio Raschella