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Tuesday 31 March 2015

MUSE'S 'A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC' dissected by James

'A Little Night of Music', written by Stephen Sondheim and directed by Alexander Andrews, at the Seymour Centre’s Everest Theatre is a charming production put on by MUSE. It’s MUSE’s ninth year of bringing theatre to us and the standard of their productions is definitely rising. While I find this musical one of Sondheim’s least accessible, I found the overall experience of the performance rather pleasant. 

The set was comprised of a raised platform resting upstage adjacent to a grand piano, above which hung a tree branch suspended from the ceiling. A three piece table setting and bed were moved on and off stage depending on the scene. Lights were used on the cyclorama to produce startling silhouettes and deep sunset hues. It was a simple, sleek vision of the text’s world and wisely sought to preference the performer’s abilities rather than produce a spectacle.

While there were of course some weak performers amongst the bunch, as is expected from any volunteer based production, there were some fantastic stand out performances. Anna Colless, as Petra the maid, negotiated her character marvellously and her solo ‘The Miller’s Son’ was easily the highlight of the production. Additionally, Christie New as Charlotte Malcolm was a stand-out performer, and while perhaps not the strongest singer, her comedic timing and dry delivery was wonderful especially in relation to Stuart Bryan, whose Fredrik Egerman was light and charming. Other honourable mentions go to Louise Flynn (Desiree Armfeldt) and her softly sombre ‘Send in the Clowns,’ Gavin Brown (Mr. Erlanson) and his striking tenor voice amongst the chorus lines and Sarah Gaul who played the elderly and often scathing Madame Armfeldt.

It was a production where you really felt the love and passion of the performers on stage. It is pleasing to watch actors have fun performing, and the whole cast listened well to each other, committed themselves to their actions, and enjoyed the cleverness of the text. Likewise the orchestra was delightful, and comprised of members from the conservatorium and elsewhere, they were a talented and tight bunch of musicians.

The atmosphere of the production was light and enjoyable and it was a good night out.
I look forward to what MUSE bring us next.

Show Dates:
25th – 28th of March

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