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Side By Side By Sondheim The Piano Bar Bristol Hippodrome Review 15th September 2017

Side By Side By Sondheim, The Piano Bar Bristol Hippodrome Review 
American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim is one of the most creative and productive of all time, his career spans more than sixty years covering musicals, films, books and revues. He’s most famous for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Follies and Sweeny Todd, also writing the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy.

Side by Side by Sondheim is a revue originally put together as benefit concert by David Kernan and Ned Sherrin in 1976 which then went on to be produced by Cameron Mackintosh and premiered in the West End starring Millicent Martin, Julia McKenzie (who could believe this glamorous siren would much later play Miss Marple) and Ned Sherrin as the narrator, before it transferred to Broadway.

The Piano Bar at the Hippodrome is the perfect place to reprise this show, it’s an intimate venue where you can imagine yourself taken back in time to when Sondheim’s music was at its most famous. Angus Blance has made a great job of producing the show, nothing has been spared musically, there are two grand pianos played with verve to back the excellent singers; in its original form the show was narrated but this has been taken out and I think it made for a faster pace and better enjoyment as a whole.

Dressed to the nines, three beautiful girls took the songs through their paces, Malorie Campbell, Laura Corradi Loughran and Lily Dyble, supported by Nathan James and Lynden O’Neill. I really enjoyed Laura’s performance of ‘I never do anything twice’ (a song from the madam of a brothel) whilst cracking a large leather whip on the bar, and Malorie Campbell with Lynden O’Neil singing “You must meet my wife” which was most amusing.

Even if you are not a Sondheim fan the evening is great fun, and something different within the realms of musical theatre. Tickets are reasonably priced (£20); it gets my recommendation and I look forward to more productions from Bristol based Pandemonium Productions.

Jacquie Vowles

Bristol Hippodrome Review 

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