A Little Night Music

Trevor Nunn's production received rave reviews and after a sold-out run at the Menier Chocolate Factory it transferred to the West End.

A Little Night Music
A Little Night Music

Trevor Nunn's production received rave reviews and after a sold-out run at the Menier Chocolate Factory it transferred to the West End.

Menier Chocolate Factory
London
"This nocturnal sunshine is just the stuff to get us through the dark midwinter."
Ian Shuttleworth in The Financial Times

About the production

The Independent's Michael Coveney gave the production five out of five stars and named it "another small-scale triumph for the Menier." He described its opening as magical: "The quintet of choric singers emerges from the mists of memory in a hall of mirrors, spinning to the waltz of a summer night."

The Evening Standard's Nicholas De Jongh praised the work of set designer David Farley: "a bare-room setting, with frosted glass back panels that soon look out onto a silver-birched garden estate. This bare, decluttered staging helps give Nunn's production its attractive, dreamy impetus." He concluded his review: "A Little Night Music, with its wonderful music of repressed desire, ranks as a rare, serious delight — obviously West End bound."

In The Sunday Times, Christopher Hart wrote that: "Hannah Waddingham is a splendid presence as Desirée, and very funny at times, too, though she overemotes to Send in the Clowns, becoming a little too tremulous and blubby." He concluded his review: "Complex but emotionally cool, dryly witty and distinctly bittersweet but, compared to the great musicals, somewhat lifeless, it nevertheless leaves you feeling pleasantly sophisticated for liking it."

Variety's David Benedict was less enthusiastic and wrote: "Charm should glow throughout this story of sex and sensuality, but that's exactly what's missing from Trevor Nunn's disappointingly effortful revival." He also found most of the supporting roles either under- or overplayed, with the exception of Kaisa Hammarlund's "well-grounded, strongly sung Petra". One of the other, less satisfied critics, was The Daily Telegraph's Charles Spencer, who felt that Nunn's production never penetrated "the work's subtly erotic heart."

Ian Shuttleworth in The Financial Times noted that: "Trevor Nunn ends 2008 as he began it: in Ingmar Bergman territory, now moving from the bleakness of Scenes From A Marriage to the relatively upbeat Smiles Of A Summer Night." He concluded his review: "This nocturnal sunshine is just the stuff to get us through the dark midwinter."

In The Times Benedict Nightingale wrote that Hannah Waddingham was a "warm, generous, likeable" presence as Desiree but he also felt that she was "too much the clean, creamy extrovert. Where's the fear of ageing, the sense of failure, the touch of menopausal angst that find expression in Send in the Clowns? Though Waddingham injects some sorrow into the song, her clowns wouldn't be wistful Marceau clones but bouncing funny-men sporting defiant grins." The Stage's, Paul Vale however embraced her performance: "Finally, here is a Desiree that can set men’s hearts racing and yet still break all our hearts with her soulful lament, Send in the Clowns." 

Images/video

Collaborators

  • Olivia Joliffe, Assistant master carpenter
  • Tom Murray, Conductor
  • Alex Hanson, Electrician (TV version)
  • Catherine Ashmore, Stills photographer
  • Ingmar Bergman, Author
  • Lynne Page, Choreography
  • Rebecca Howell, Assistand choreographer
  • Poppy Hall, Costume manager
  • Gareth Owen, Sound
  • Mike Thaker, Sound technician
  • Hartley T A Kemp, Lighting design
  • Caroline Humphris, Musical arrangement
  • Linda McKnight, Make-up and wigs
  • Trevor Nunn, Director
  • Tom Littler, Assistant director
  • Ciara Fanning, Master carpenter
  • David Farley, Designer
  • Victoria Stevenson, Assistant designer
  • Tshari King, Technical manager
  • Chris May
  • Gabriel Vick
  • Lynden Edwards
  • Charlotte Page
  • Laura Armstrong
  • John Addison
  • Nicola Sloane
  • Holly Hallam
  • Maureen Lipman
  • Alistair Robins
  • Jessie Buckley
  • Kaisa Hammarlund
  • Hannah Waddingham
  • Jeremy Finch
  • Kelly Price