A Little Night Music

 Sydney Opera House (in Sydney)

“There’s many a tryst and there’s many a bed to be sampled and seen in the meanwhile, and a girl has to celebrate what passes by”

Fredrik revisits an old flame after months of sexless marriage with his young new wife. Many different liaisons and schemes ensue till everyone ends up with the right coupling.

Anthony Warlow performing the work of Stephen Sondhiem. You can tell how this review is going to go. I’ll start with the material itself. The plot is like a sexual game of chess, if you had emotional attachments to the pawns. Beautiful songs with all the wit and depth you expect from Sondheim. Truly worthy of a staging in our national icon.

The actors never let a laugh fly by, adding their own touches for example, Carl Magnus whistling a powerful little tune to intimidate Fredrick. Delightful additional props were also thrown in, such as little cars the actors peddled to their weekend in the country. It was a great relief to have a decent actor play Henrick. With a less talented actor, Henrick is whiney and annoying (if you’ve attempted to watch the film version, you’ll know) but the fact that he takes himself so seriously while being so pathetic is comedy gold – “We have sinned!…. And it was a complete failure!” The song ‘later’ should always be sung as powerfully as it was in this performance, belted out with sexual frustration bubbling over. The costumes and scenery were all elegant and fitting but what was really admirable was the use of the revolving stage floor. Most shows that use a turntable will really use that turntable, spinning the actors about at every opportunity. In this production the turntable was only used clearly when the actors waltz together, highlighting the absurdity of their coupling. Other times the back of the stage was set for the next scene behind a curtain and the floor simply revolved moving it into place, taking away the old set. Everything appeared so classy and elegant instead of showy.

I mentioned before that there was a film version of this show, a terrible awful version (by Hal Prince no less). It is thus so important that people attend musicals like this. It cannot be filmed so you when the opportunity comes to see it, you’ve simply got to go. Brought out as Catherine Zeta Jones and Angela Landsbury approach the material on Broadway, it proves we Aussies are not too far behind. Anthony Warlow has always been an icon but the other actors in this show are definitely ones to watch: Anne became Laura in Doctor Zhivago and Carl Magnus became our Australian Phantom in Love Never Dies so fingers crossed the talented cast continues to dazzle us in Australian Musical Theatre.

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