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Posts Tagged ‘Charles Court’

The pedigree of the creators of this show is second to none. It was composer Richard Rogers first show after the death of his partner Oscar Hammerstein. It was a return to the role of lyricist only, his third, for Stephen Sondheim, after his first two outings as composer / lyricist. It was writer Arthur Laurents fourth collaboration with Sondheim, including iconic shows like West Side Story and Gypsy. Sadly, it turned out to be probably the weakest work all three ever did.

It’s a flimsy story where American and Italian attitudes to love and life are contrasted. We’re at a pension in Venice where five American tourists are staying – a young couple visiting from their new home in Rome, an older more stereotypical American couple and singleton Leona on the look for love. Laurents’ book is weak, Rogers songs mediocre (and more than a bit twee) and Sondheim’s lyrics lack his trademark wit and fail to sparkle.

I’m not familiar with the work of production company Charles Court, but they appear to specialise in opera, Gilbert & Sullivan operetta and ’boutique’ panto – and it shows. The performance style is too broad, with exaggerated gestures and accents and a lack of any subtlety. The two leads have little chemistry, so their relationship lacked plausibility. Putting the piano / percussion duo centre stage (why percussion?), with just a painted backcloth and a couple of tables and chairs, makes it feel more like a concert than a show.

I remember the 2005 Landor production being better than this, so I have to conclude this production brings out the worst in an already weak show.

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