Marry Me A Little at St James
Set in an apartment in New York, Marry Me A Little brings together Sondheim’s unpublished songs in a bittersweet play about love and loneliness, as two strangers in the same apartment block release their secret fantasies for each other in this all-singing musical.
Across from the set, David Randall plays a grand piano, tinkling away at the opening of Two Fairy Tales as the actors enter stage, playing out their very separate but synonymous lives as their fantasies interlock, echoed by the use of a lone apartment. Actually, she lives on the floor above him, but the singular set functions as his, hers and both. And although they never meet, each subsists in the other’s dreams and memoirs. Their existence is expressed through songs such as Saturday Night, reflecting most urban youth’s nightmare of being alone at the weekend, while All Things Bright and Beautiful and Bang! exhibit their very differing visions of love – the first promises perpetual romance; the second a more virile, vigorous view as the battle rages, and the trousers fall.
Laura Pitt Pulford plays a charming, sweet woman in what is a perfect casting for Sondheim’s songs and style. Portraying wit, femininity and sexuality, Pulford pulls no punches. Her voice matches Sondheim’s musicality, creating a perfect marriage of soaring, beautiful vocals against the subtle nuances of his lyrics and scores.
Simon Baileym is equally accomplished, albeit surpassed somewhat by Pulford’s sincere and delicate interpretation; he’s punchy, sometimes impish, and typical of a wholesome young modern man living in a loft apartment in downtown New York.
A cross between a story show and a compilation, Marry Me A Little is as classy as the venue it is set in, which has a lot to do with the musical scores and the genius of Sondheim. And it is with thanks to Craig Lucas and Norma Rene who conceived the idea of juxtaposing these previously virtually unheard of songs in this playful, tender and very tangible tale that we get to sit back and enjoy Sondheim all over again.
Marry Me a Little is at St James Studio until 10th August 2014, for further information or to book visit here.