Click here!


Theatre Review: A Little Night Music

Joy Watters reviews 'a richly rewarding experience'.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre champions musicals, staging not one but two a year. It is certainly no mean feat to twice produce this most demanding of forms annually, particularly in the summer season where it is part of a repertoire that changes daily.

There is another challenge this year as director John Durnin and his team stage their first Sondheim, his 1973 Broadway hit A Little Night Music.

Based on Ingmar Bergman’s film Smiles Of A Summer Night, Night Music is set in 1900 Sweden around Midsummer’s Day as couples of different ages look at their relationships anew. There’s a touch of Shakespeare’s Dream too as affections shift, plotting a convoluted course until happily resolved.

Middle-aged lawyer Fredrik Egerman (Dougal Lee) has taken a 19-year-old girl as his second bride, but she still remains a virgin months into the marriage. He meets his old lover, Desiree Armfeldt, a mature woman of the world.

Basienka Blake is in top form as Desiree, the charismatic actress who now regrets her colourful past filled with a host of lovers.

Her heartbreaking version of ‘Send In the Clowns’ is the highlight of the piece, sweeping up the audience in a tide of emotion. Blake brings together the anger and regret in a perfectly contained, perfectly phrased rendition.

The classic song acts as a catalyst for the whole of the show; what has been a slightly stilted first half blossoms in the second, triumphantly sweeping along to its conclusion.

Lee, too, captures the regrets and world-weariness of the lawyer, protesting how wonderful youth is before he has his afternoon nap.

Sondheim’s wry observations on the foolishness of mortals in love is beautifully picked out in Alan J Mirren and Helen Logan’s playing as the military buffoon lover and his pragmatic, long-suffering wife.

Jacqueline Dutoit perfectly encapsulates the hauteur of Desiree’s mother, boasting that all her lovers were aristocratic, while at the other end of the social scale Isla Carter delivers a wonderfully lusty version of ‘The Miller’s Son’.

Durnin has pulled out all the stops with this production with its 20 performers for a richly rewarding experience.

In repertoire at Pitlochry Festival Theatre until October 17.

Tags: theatre

Comments: 0 (Add)

To post a comment, you need to sign in or register. Forgotten password? Click here.

Find a show

Search the site

Find us on …

Find us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFind us on YouTube