I was first introduced to A Little Night Music when I heard a 10 second snippet of the glorious 'Night Waltz' provide a neat segue into the Sondheim 'section' of Hey, Mr Producer. I was hooked by the show's sumptuous three-four time, so when it came to London in 2008 (first at the Menier Chocolate Factory and later at the Garrick) I booked immediately. I always measure a musical on whether I head home to listen to the cast recording straight away and I remember listening to the continual theme and variation of this seductive score on repeat for weeks, wishing for another chance to see it on stage.
Last night that wish was fulfilled in Alex Parker's one night only 40th Anniversary Concert Production at the Palace Theatre, and what a treat it was!
If the show itself wasn't enough of a draw, then three of my favourite actresses, Janie Dee, Joanna Riding and Laura Pitt-Pulford, made up some of the exceptional cast.
Accompanied by the most exquisite on-stage orchestra conducted by a dancing Alex Parker, it's hard to pick out anyone or anything in particular, but I am haunted by Riding's 'Every Day a Little Death', along with the brilliant Anna O'Byrne playing Anne, and Pitt-Pulford's gutsy and heart breaking rendition of 'The Miller's Son'. 'A Weekend in the Country' has always been one of my favourite Act 1 finales, and the company left me in interval heaven with their comical delivery, beautifully staged by Alistair Knights and Andrew Wright.
Video: the cast in rehearsal
Flipping from comedy to anguish, from love to loss, the real star of A Little Night Music is Sondheim's music and lyrics, performed here with so much love and affection for a most loving and affectionate audience. I drifted off to sleep happily humming that intoxicating 'Night Waltz' and longing for another opportunity to see this wonderful work of art on stage. Bravo!