Stuart King

Review: MARRY ME A LITTLE at The Stage Door Theatre, Drury Lane

It is perhaps a testament to the extraordinary genius of Stephen Sondheim, that to create MARRY ME A LITTLE, it was merely necessary to conjure a song cycle from elements he’d culled from the final versions of Follies, Company, and A Little Night Music among others. These disparate leftovers were honed into a simple show by Craig Lucas and Norman René which despite its lack of any dialogue or obvious narrative thread had a brief off-Broadway run back in 1980.

Markus Sodergren and Shelley Rivers in Marry Me A Little. Photo Peter DaviesMarkus Sodergren and Shelley Rivers in Marry Me A Little at The Stage Door Theatre, Drury Lane. Photo Peter Davies

Running from now until 13th April at the Stage Door Theatre on Drury Lane, (one of the West End’s newest and more bijou pub theatre venues), the production is essentially an exploration of the loneliness and isolation which can exist in a busy urban environment. Two individuals who both crave more intimate and meaningful human interaction in the city that never sleeps, know of each other’s existence, and indeed live in the same apartment building one floor apart, but have yet to pluck up the courage to start a conversation. Set one Saturday night when neither has reason to go out, the characters known simply as Man and Woman (presumably to reinforce the urban anonymity angle) convey their deepest yearnings, regrets, irritations and hopes for love, through the delivery of just shy of 20 numbers. Here performed by Shelley Rivers and Markus Sodergren with a simple keyboard accompaniment courtesy of MD Aaron Clingham, with the whole helmed by Robert McWhir the venue's artistic director who formerly ran The Landor in Clapham North.