Thursday, June 30, 2022


Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Directed by Lexi Sekuless

Presented by Lexi Sekuless & Belco Arts

Belco Arts Centre to 2 July


Reviewed by Len Power 29 June 2022


When Broadway composer, Stephen Sondheim, died in 2021, he left behind a body of work of some of the greatest musicals of the second part of the 20th Century including ‘Into The Woods’; ‘Company’, Follies’. ‘Sunday In The Park With George’ and ‘Sweeney Todd’.

Actors who could sing loved performing his work as the songs were often a complete story or play in themselves.  His work could also give them nigtmares as they discovered unexpected complexities under the surface.  ‘It never goes where you think it’s going’, was often heard.

In ‘A Sonnet For Sondheim’, five performers, including director, Lexi Sekuless, present an evening of Sondheim songs in a tribute to language and lyrics.  Interspersed with Sondheim songs is the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson.

From left: Carl Rafferty (piano), Katerina Smalley, Martin Everett, Tim Sekuless and Jay Cameron

Commencing with ‘It’s Only A Play’ from Sondheim’s musical, ‘The Frogs’, the cast establish themselves as actors in rehearsal in street clothes, giving the show an air of informality.  As well as presenting the poetry between songs, cast members also let the audience in on a few of the personal trials and tribulations of being an actor.

The five talented performers, Jay Cameron, Katerina Smalley, Martin Everett, Tim Sekuless and Lexi Sekuless are all well-qualified to sing Sondheim’s songs and there are some fine, well-judged performances.  Carl Rafferty, the pianist, accompanied the cast skilfully and with personality.

However, the poetry readings and actor reminiscences impede the flow of the show and don’t relate well to the songs that follow the readings.  ‘I Remember’, from ‘Evening Primrose’ sung by Lexi Sekuless, works best of all because she maintains the mood created in her preceding dialogue throughout the song.

Lexi Sekuless

Too many of the songs have been given distracting movement.  Only ‘You Could Drive a Person Crazy’ from ‘Company’ has engaging choreography by Annette Sharp.  The songs from ‘Passion’ – ‘I Wish I Could Forget You’ and ‘Loving You’ - were especially effective without movement.

The whole cast gave a fine performance of ‘Sunday’ from ‘Sunday In The Park With George’ towards the end of the show but the laid-back group singing of ‘Send In the Clowns’ from ‘A Little Night Music’ that followed diminished the power of this song.

There were some opening night glitches with the lighting and the sound amplification was too high, often giving the voices an unfortunate harshness.

Nevertheless, the Sondheim songs are the attraction here and they were mostly well-performed by these good singers.

Photos supplied by the company 

Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at