Penny Flood sings the praises of Fulham theatre's celebration of Stephen Sondheim
If you go to see only one theatrical production this month, make it the London Theatre Workshop's Just Another Love Story upstairs at the Eel Brook. A compilation of love songs by Stephen Sondheim, it’s exuberant, clever, funny and a great way to spend an evening.
There’s no actual plot. The songs, picked from various Sondheim musicals, are knitted together to create a series of musical vignettes about love – the highs, the lows, the good, the bad, the sad and the funny.
I’m not familiar which much of Sondheim’s work, so this was all new to me. You don’t have to be a Sondheim fan to enjoy it.
Some of the songs are complete, such as the gentle ‘Losing My Mind and the hilarious (and rude) Can That Boy Foxtrot.
Others, like Tonight and Something's Coming are just snatches put in as links between the other songs. Sondheim is a prolific songwriter and this is a great showcase of his work.
Some are from his lesser known works and include some rarities – Foxtrot, Little White House, Uptown & Downtown – which were cut from the musical Follies.
Sondheim didn’t write stand alone numbers, he wrote integrated musicals, his work is more about situations and character. They go deeper (and are more fun) than conventional love songs, which gives the cast the chance to get stuck in as they take on the various characters to bring it all to life - clever stuff.
There are eight of them – Marcia Brown, Steve Brown, Lowri-Ann Davies, Aimee Gray, Sam Harrison, Anton Tweedale, Ellen Verenieks and Oliver Watton - all with great voices, terrific dance moves and, where it’s called for, perfect comic timing.
Look out for Lowri-Ann singing The Boy From and etting Married Today, and the twinkle in Marcia’s eye as she navigates Foxtrot. They are accompanied throughout on the piano by musical director Thomas Lees.
Marcia, Anton and Oliver were in Ordinary Days (the first production to be staged here) and it’s lovely to see them again. Anton and Steve have also appeared in Just Another Love Story in its early days at the Brighton Fringe.
This is the third show from the London Theatre Workshop, and they’re going from strength to strength. This is making a bold statement as the bar was set very high by Ordinary Days, when it was nominated for the Best Musical Production in the Off West End Theatre Awards. This one is definitely worthy of an award.
Director Ray Rackham is the genius behind this as he conceived the idea and put it all together and then spent three years getting it right, which is the show you can see now.
People of Fulham you are so privileged to have theatre this good on your doorstep. It’s only on until the 24th May so get your skates on if you want to see it.
Tickets are available on the door, or online at the website,
London Theatre Workshop.
London Theatre Workshop, 65 New Kings Road, SW6
Time: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Saturday matinees at 2.30pm
Box Office: London Theatre Workshop
May 14, 2014