The first time I went to St. James’ Theatre to see Urinetown I raved about this lovely venue only 10 minutes walk from Victoria, recently I made a return visit, but this time to the fantastically intimate St. James’ Studio.
I was attending Marry Me a Little, a revue featuring only two actors Simon Bailey (I Can’t Sing) and Laura Pitt-Pulford (The Light Princess) and songs written by Stephen Sondheim. The songs featured in Marry Me a Little were written early in Sondheim’s career and were meant to be included in other musicals but for one reason or another weren’t performed or published. Collaborators Craig Lucas and Norman René have pieced them together to create a sung narrative between a young man and woman.
The synopsis tells us that the revue is about relationship between two lonely single people, who are in emotional conflict during an evening in their separate one-room apartments. I was expecting exactly that, two apartments, two actors and ne’er the twain shall meet.
But this is Sondheim, expect the unexpected. There is only one apartment, the actors sharing one space independently one minute, and interacting with each other the next. The fact that they didn’t meet and were sharing fantasies didn’t really come across clearly to me however that didn’t detract from the revue in any way, the songs were bound together to portray the many facets of a relationship in the most melodic way. Both Simon Bailey and Laura Pitt-Pulford complimented each other beautifully, they were passionate, humorous and were vocally fantastic.
Several songs stood out, ‘Can that Boy Foxtrot!’ (cut from Follies), ‘There won’t be Trumpets’ (Anyone Can Whistle) and my personal favourite ‘Pour Le Sport’, a golfing song from the unproduced ‘The Last Resorts’, in this show the song is given extra comedic value as the golf is played not on a golf course but on a Wii in the apartment.
Produced by Aria Entertainment and directed by Hannah Chissick with musical direction by David Randall. I enjoyed Marry Me a Little immensely, not only because of the songs but also the intimacy of St. James’ Studio. But to catch it you need to move fast, with a run of only 16 performances, it closes on the 10th August, some shows are already sold out.
Review by Sammi O’Neill
MARRY ME A LITTLE
TUESDAY 29 JULY – SUNDAY 10 AUGUST 2014
ST. JAMES STUDIO – St. James Theatre, 12 Palace Street, SW1E 5JA
Performances: Tuesday to Saturday 8.00pm, 3.00pm (2, 6, 9, 10 August), 2.00pm (3 August), 7.00pm (10 August)
Tickets: £17-£22 (Weekdays) £19-£25 (Weekends)
Box Office: www.stjamestheatre.co.uk
0844 264 2140