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MARRY ME A LITTLE – St James Studio, London

Marry Me A Little - St James's Studio, London

Photo by Roy Tan

Marry Me a Little is a simplistic musical revue of lesser-known Sondheim songs, set into a story that documents the lives of two single lonely people, both lamenting their situation but unaware of each other’s existence just metres away from each other in neighbouring apartments in New York City.

A charming premise, but the use of songs that were cut from Sondheim’s larger musicals (Company, A Little Night Music, Follies, to name a few) means the story doesn’t quite have the intended impact, and I was left unmoved by most of the songs. Luckily, the inclusion of the rousing ‘There Won’t Be Trumpets’ and insightful title number gives the score the substance it needs.

My personal ambivalence towards the music aside, there’s no doubting that director Hannah Chissick has worked hard to create a beautifully intimate space on stage at St James Studio to reflect a delicate sense of lonely souls who exist in each other’s dreams and fantasies, but who never get to experience it as a reality.

Laura Pitt-Pulford and Simon Bailey are the perfect twosome to carry this hour long, fully sung experience. Both exude charisma and innate sensitivity when dealing with the material that implores your heart to go out to them. Able to convey a sense of humour, desire and despair at the rapidly changing pace that the material demands is a challenge for anyone, and they both nail it.

At times the transitions between each of these ‘scenes’ can be confusing, not always letting the audience understand if their encounters are real or merely a part of their inner dialogue. It switches back and forth so quickly that there is little time to process the plot progression. However, in a revue of this format the main objective must surely be to appreciate a series of well written musical numbers sung by an accomplished cast, and in that respect Marry me a Little more than delivers.

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Reviewed 31/07/14

By Caroline Cronin

29th July – 10th August
St James Studio, London, SW1E.

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