MUSICAL REVIEW: Marry Me a Little ★★★★

 Marry Me A Little

The Barn Theatre, Cirencester

Friday 16th October - Sunday 8th November 2020

First seen staged in the UK in 1982, but having opened off-Broadway two years prior, Marry Me a Little tells the sombre, rather downbeat story of a Man (Rob Houchen), and Woman (Celinde Schoenmaker), both who never truly meet within the production, but we see besotted with the urn to see eachother, and imagine the encounters, if they were to ever rekindled what we feel like is a result of a failed relationship, something I think we could all relate to at some point in our lives, some who may have felt this even more recently with the stress of lockdown, giving this Barn Theatre production a real meaning and purpose to be staged at such a pivotal stage.

The Barn Theatre has often developed underrated gems in the past; in many similarities that could be mirrored with their 2019 production of Daddly Long Legs, Gregor Donnelly is back here with an elegant, if not entirely rustic, staging that flaunts exposed brickwork in the backdrop, whilst we also get a chance to peer into the flats of our two protagonists. Video design and projections play a pivotal part in retelling the story of our two hapless romantics, wether they are withering in their own sorrow, or trying to move on from one another through dating apps or saucy messaging material, from the genius mind of Benjamin Collins, a staple to the Cotswolds venue. 

Together, Donnelly and Collins present a versatile window, which can at times feel quite intrusive, of the characters lives, and is beautifully presented through a tainted and realistic view that allows us to connect to the story in many ways that I would believe wouldn't have been achieved in previous incarnations of this production elsewhere, which just clearly goes to show the dedication that this whole creative team have to produce something that is incredibly West End worthy.

Powerhouses in their own right, The Barn have achieved platinum hype since their cast announcement, and rightly so in the form of securing Rob Houchen and Celinde Schoenmaker, as well as Director Kirk Jameson, who previously directed The World Goes 'Round for The Barn Fest this past summer. Where you could be paying up the high regions of your wages to see Houchen and Schoenmaker storm the stages in the capital, here they do not disappoint in delivering their absolute honest, personal, and rather delicate versions of themselves for the Cotswolds audiences who will get the chance to feel that connection; from the very first note between the two leads, that happen to comes from offstage, you're already sat bolt upright in your seat, ready and prepared to be taken on a journey. 

Personally I felt like at times the source material came across as feeling quite heavy, with also no real through line in joining the dots for our characters, as the information obtained through the score is made up of an assortment of Sondheim numbers throughout many of his productions, and I just felt like it could be rectified if they were only a few moments to pause for breath, with just an inch of spoken dialogue from the two leads, allowing us to delve further into background of their lives, churning away with the devil on their shoulder, and wondering if to contact the other, instead of us having to jump from one number to the next with no second thought, but again this has come from the source material which has been cemented for the past fifty years, and has no bearing on the fundamental pain that Houchen and Schoenmaker embody throughout, thanks to Jameson's slick direction where you long for the two to physical touch and acknowledge the other, in this very special and resonating piece in these weary, theatrical times.


Popular Posts