It’s a long time on a bus from Frankston to Nunawading, 1 hour 40 minutes if any of you are wondering. I don’t have a car and this is how l get about and l am getting about to the Whitehorse Centre to see A Little Night Music. I will admit now that l had never seen a Stephen Sondheim musical or an Ingmar Bergman film so l did some reading up before Saturday so l knew the story.
It’s my first visit to the Whitehorse Centre and this is the first of four shows that l’ll be seeing here this year. This production has professional performers and is a little more expensive, but, l had money left over from the Friday show and l really wanted to see a Stephen Sondheim musical.
It’s midsummer in Sweden and one magical night that smiles three times. Nadine Garner played the fading actress Desiree with real understanding and her rendition of Send in the Clowns was sung with such pathos. John O’May as Fredrik and Eddie Mullaumaseali’l as Count Carl-Magnus Malcome were in fine voice. Their acting was not quite up to the same standard as Nadine Garner, but l could not fault their singing. Johanna Allen as Charlotte and Jackie Rees as Madame Armfeldt both played their roles well along with great cameo performances by Anna-Francesca Armenia as Petra and Raphael Wong as Mr Linquist.
Carina Waye played Anne as an airhead and l’m not sure if that is exactly what the character is meant to be. Again, l couldn’t fault her singing. The real disappointment was Nelson Gardner as the lovesick Henrik. I think he overplayed the role, at times veering into hysteria which meant he strangled the high notes when singing. His was the only real disappointing performance.
I sat writing my notes at interval and towards the end l saw the orchestra members come out from behind the curtain for the second half. They came out in single file, all dressed in black, and one by one trooped down into the orchestra pit. It made me think of ants going about their business; ants are such busy and industrious creatures as were these talented musicians who did great justice to the sublime musical score of Stephen Sondheim.
Soon it was over and l was back at the bus stop waiting for the bus to go home. I got talking to a lady who told me that the council is going to tear down the current Whitehorse Centre and build a bigger newer theatre. I got on the bus and made the long trek home where much later that night l found myself still humming one of the melodies.
Did l like my first Stephen Sondheim musical, yes l did.