20th October 2020
Review by Shaun Tossell
Today was my very first visit to Cirencester’s cultural jewel, the Barn Theatre, which has been leading the pack with its efforts to keep making theatre happen, during these strange times.
Following on from the success of their outdoor theatre festival – BarnFest, the Barn Theatre has managed to programme an exciting indoor theatre season, whilst keeping everyone safe.
We now come to their current offering, a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Marry Me A Little. A one-act musical revue, which sets songs cut from Sondheim’s better-known musicals, as well as songs from his then-unproduced musical Saturday Night. This updated version follows two ex-lovers, alone in their apartments on a Saturday night, pondering the state of their love lives and of what could of been.
The two ex-lovers are played by the immensely talented West End stars Celinde Schoenmaker (The Phantom of the Opera) and Rob Houchen (Les Misérables).
Schoenmaker and Houchen complemented each other brilliantly, elevating the material, their voices soared and brought the achingly romantic and melancholy numbers to life.
A highlight of the show for me, was the comedic number “Can That Boy Foxtrot!” (cut from Follies) which was sung with relish by Schoenmaker, dripping with innuendo and had me tittering throughout.
The show featured clever set design, splitting the stage in half with each performer having their own side, which represented their own apartments. Even though they are performing physically close to each other, the staging manages to convey the sense of distance and longing of the characters well.
The updates introduced by director Kirk Jameson, modernise it for current audiences, incorporating screens, which acted as scenery and interwove text messages and social media posts as a way for the characters to interact with each other.
This production of Marry Me A Little manages to elevate the show’s admittedly lightweight premise, with the aid of two incredibly talented singers.
If you’re a Sondheim fan, get yourself down to the Barn Theatre and escape for an hour or so with this lovely production.
In regards to the safety measures put in place, the Barn Theatre has done a wonderful job making it a painless experience, with social distancing, perspex screens and a one-way system in place.
Marry Me A Little is playing at the Barn Theatre in Cirencester until 8th November 2020.
Tickets & more info – https://barntheatre.org.uk/performances/marry-me-a-little
Photo credit – Eve Dunlop