This London based theatre company (with a strong Scottish core) brings a 5 header cast and 5 strong orchestra to Edinburgh to perform a fast paced review of Sondheim’s finest. (Although only one Sweeney song makes the cut. Boo hoo.) It deftly demonstrates just how brilliant Sondheim is lyrically and musically although with a relatively small cast it’s the lyrics that take centre stage, despite outstanding moments of musical magic.
It would need a larger ensemble to bring out the more complex choral harmonies that shows like Into the Woods and Sweeney have.
That said, we have a multitude of brilliant songs to pick from, and carefully segued they are with a storyline that sews them all together. Certainly alcohol, in the form of a lounge life culture that permeates Manhattan, features strongly as does love, relationships, doubt, despair and commitment.
The stand out performance, for me, was “Not getting married” from Company that took the breath away with the vocal gymnastics required to deliver it by Gayle Telfer-Stevens. The show also benefited enormously from the delightful lugubriousness of Adam Woodhouse throughout. All the cast can sing. Really sing! And the orchestra, led by FCT past MD, Neil Somerville, is subtle, controlled and seemingly note perfect throughout.
All in all, a lovely late nite show and, for Sondheim enthusiasts, a festival must see.
Augustine’s Venue 152
9th – 15th August @ 22.50pm
17 – 30th August @ 23.40pm
And, dear reader, a Brucie bonus! Here is Sondheim masterclassing Not Getting Married. A wee peachy moment.