Directed by Mitchell Butel.Musical director. Josh van Konkelenberg. Arranger: Daryl Wallis.John McDermott on Drums. Alana Dawes on Bass. Christina Guala and Vashti Tyrell on Woodwinds. Her Majesty’s Theatre. Adelaide Cabaret Festival in association with the Adelaide Festival Centre. June 23rd. 2022
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
Stephen Sondheim’s death last year, even at the age of 91, sent shock waves through the musical theatre world. It seemed most fitting then that the festival should include a tribute concert in honour of the great composer, lyricist, and mentor. And who better than five of the finest exponents of Sondheim’s songs in the country to celebrate his genius?
|Josie Lane, Queenie van de Zandt and Mitchell Butel in Moments in the Woods|
Director Mitchell Butel is joined by Queenie van de Zandt, Josie Lane, Geraldine Turner and Philip Quast to perform Sondheim’s songs, including many that they have performed in his musicals in Australia and internationally. What follows is a concert that would make the great man proud. From the moment the performers and the musicians join together with Hey Old Friends from Merrily We Roll Along they fill the theatre with love. Moments in the Woods – Songs and stories of Sondheim is more than a tribute concert. It is a joyous celebration of Sondheim’s vast talent and profound humanity. Each performer and I suspect most members of the audience have been touched, moved and inspired by the man and his work. Sondheim is the Musical’s Shakespeare.
|Queenie van de Zandt and Mitchell Butel|
|Philip Quast and Geraldine Turner|
After interval the gems just kept sparkling brighter in the Ballad section of the night. Those who were there to witness will never forget Turner’s wonderfully cockney rendition of Mrs Lovett’s A Little Priest from Sweeney Todd or Butel’s sensitively sung Nothing Else Will Harm You from the same musical. Van De Zandt’s Who’s That Woman from Sondheim’s Follies. And who will ever forget Lane’s brilliant, triumphant There Won’t be Trumpets from Anyone Can Whistle
In his little
known musical Evening Primrose
Sondheim reveals his mantra in the song Take Me To The World. As a fitting finale
to the programme Quast sings a combined version of Shakespeare’s song Fear No
More the Heat of the Sun and Caesar’s speech to Calpurnia from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar : “It seems to me most
strange that men should fear seeing that death a necessary end will come when
it will came.” It came as it does to Sondheim last year and the company read
out some of the tributes that poured in to mourn his loss to the world of musical
theatre. But Moments in the Woods- the
Songs and Stories of Sondheim will remain for all fortunate enough to be at
Her Majesty’s Theatre on June 23rd as a lasting testimony to the
great man and the artists who so powerfully and lovingly brought forth their
amazing talent to do Stephen Sondheim proud.
The cast of Moments in the Woods
Photos by Claudio Raschella