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Marry Me A Little (Susan Elkin reviews)

Show: Marry Me A Little

Society: London (professional shows)

Venue: The Stage Door Theatre. 150-151 Drury Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9LB

Credits: By Stephen Sondheim, conceived by Craig Lucas and Norman Rene. Directed by Robert McWhir. Musical Director Aaron Clingham

Marry Me A Little

3 stars

Susan Elkin | 02 Mar 2024 10:17am

This compliation of nineteen Sondheim solos and duets into a loose investigation of marriage is an interesting idea but it becomes much more of a staged concert than a musical. It’s closer to a Schubert song cycle in concept and for that, the 60 minute run time is a long time for a contrived piece without coherent narrative.

Nonetheless Shelley Rivers and Markus Sodergren are both pleasing singers and hearing them work toether in a low ceilinged confined space without radio mics is more like opera than a musical but none the worse for that. Both are good at catching mood and conveying the joys, disappointments, yearning and regrets involved in any relationship. Rivers, whose intonation is almost always accurate, brings sweetness, along with a wide dynamic range and sustained full belt when she needs it. Sodergren, also catching many nuanced moods, brings a rather touching vulnerability to the role.  And I admired their rendering of Saturday Night which is effectively a fugue and pretty tricky.

All this is done, rather impressively, without visual cues. Aaron Clingham playing piano mellifluously is tucked away at the side where I suspect he can’t be seen by either singer.

We’re in the newly opened Stage Door Theatre above The Prince of Wales pub in Drury Lane which is an attractive, quite roomy space with the audience (who can also dine) sitting at tables. David Shields’s set occupies one end of the room and presents a domestic apartment with sofa, plants, fridge, shelves and the like. The intimacy of that audience proximity works quite well.

Director Robert McWhir makes sure that every inch of the small playing space is imaginatively used with plenty of movement and different moods evoked in corners and with props such as wine bottles.


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Susan Elkin Susan Elkin is an education journalist, author and former secondary teacher of English. She was Education and Training Editor at The Stage from 2005 - 2016
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