Putting It Together
  • By Pete Shaw
  • |
  • 17th Aug 2006
  • |
  • ★★★★★

Few composers have received the critical acclaim of Stephen Sondheim. A genius storyteller, his shows have consistently pushed the boundaries of musical theatre in both subject and execution. Putting It Together is a medley of his work, devised with the assistance of Julia McKenzie and first produced by Cameron Mackintosh in Oxford in 1992. It was the 1999 Broadway production which brought most attention to the show, and also the first time this reviewer caught it.

The plot, such as it is for any revue show, follows the relationships of the elder socialites and young debutantes in New York at the wedding anniversary of the hosts of a cocktail party. In the Broadway version, this consisted of two couples plus a narrator to tie the piece together. Kenspeck Theatre have enlarged the cast to nine in order to create a social gathering.

This larger group instantly adds new possibilities to the harmonies not seen on Broadway. Ensemble numbers literally explode on stage - and dare I say it - even better than the original professional production.

This reviewer found himself grinning throughout the performance and my palms were sore I clapped so hard. I'll admit, I'm a Sondheim fan, and it's rare to see it done this well.

Kenspeck are to be congratulated for adding a new and successful twist to an already brilliant show. I look forward to returning for another viewing.

Reviews by Pete Shaw

Assembly George Square Studios

The House

★★★★★
theSpace on the Mile

Grace Notes

★★★
Greenwich Theatre

The Jungle Book

★★★
Greenwich Theatre

A Midsummer Night's Dream

★★★★
Multiple Venues

A Spoonful Of Sherman

★★★★★
Pleasance Theatre

Assassins

★★★★

The Blurb

C, venue 34. 16-28 Aug 18.30 (1hr15)