Presented by Hills Musical Company
Reviewed 6 November 2015
Company contains some of Stephen Sondheim’s most popular tunes. It was a ground-breaking musical, when it was first produced in the early 70s, and, although slightly dated, remains fresh, and an immensely enjoyable reminder of the man’s genius. It is also a relatively easy production to stage, and is therefore a good choice for an amateur company.
Rather than a storyline, this musical is a series of vignettes about marriage, and about the lives of middle-class people in New York. Songs include Marry Me a Little, Sorry-Grateful and the always moving Being Alive.
Fiona DeLaine as director and Mark DeLaine as musical director have done an excellent of job of “putting it together” (little Sondheim joke there…). Special kudos must go to Jamie Richards for a brilliant piece of set design, making the most of a fairly small stage.
The ensemble singing in this production is first class, and is the high-light of the show. All performers were competent singers and actors, but there were particularly strong performances from James McCluskey-Garcia as Larry and Kerry Staight as April. Josh Barkley as pivotal character Robert, was charming, and certainly looked the part. His singing was sweet, but lacked some power, and he needs to relax and lean into Sondheim’s phrasing. Jess Rossiter is very watchable as the kooky Amy, and she handles the very difficult number, I’m Not Getting Married well. She could just give it a bit more oomph and vocal variety. Kate Anolak and Jamie Richards play the pugilistic Sarah and Harry with verve, and all other performances are solid and tight. The orchestra, under Delaine’s baton, sounds much bigger than it is.
This is, for a non-professional company, an outstanding production.
Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Venue: Stirling Community Theatre Avenue Road, Stirling
Season: 6 – 21 November 2015
Duration: 2 hours including interval
Tickets: $25 – $32