Theatre

Classic Moments: Hidden Treasures @ Jermyn Street Theatre, London



cast list
Laura Armstrong, Valerie Cutko, Jon-Paul Hevey, Lucy Johnson, Tim McArthur

directed by
Tim McArthur

The tiny Jermyn Street Theatre is one of London’s little-known gems, so it is somewhat appropriate for a staging of a show going by the sub-title of Hidden Treasures. This five-person cabaret is a brisk romp through lesser-known Sondheim songs – a real treat for dedicated fans and a pleasing taster for those less familiar with his work. From the bouncy tribute to love in New York that is What More Do I Need that opens it to the delightfully cynical closing number of Happily Ever After, the show rarely puts a foot wrong.

The songs, with one or two exceptions, are smartly chosen. Standouts include Valerie Cutko’s Can That Boy Foxtrot and Who’s That Woman: magnificently androgynous and with a jaded charisma, she’s a performer born for cabaret, and a perfect fit for Sondheim’s slanted world view.

Laura Armstrong deserves special praise for managing the tongue-twisting The Boy From, and her take on On The Steps of the Palace is a pleasure.While Lucy Armstrong is the weakest of the vocalists, her Sooner Or Later – previously immortalised by Madonna – is a sexy romp, and props should go to pianist/musical director David Harvey for gamely joining the fun.

Doing double duty as director, performer Tim McArthur wrings bitter joy from Could I Leave You, and Jon-Paul Hevey gives a rousing version of Everybody Says Don’t.

The ensemble numbers are slick and well co-ordinated, well served by Fi Russell’s simple and elegant set, a giant picture frame serving as entrance from the wings.

All of the cast have good rather than great voices, but that never really matters – they handle the songs adeptly and have energy and charm to spare, and the cabaret style staging allows the dark beauty of Sondheim’s lyrics to shine. For fans of musical theatre, this is one treasure worth seeking out.



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