Romance Romance Sept 1996

Sunday, 15 September, 1996

The evening is in fact two one act musicals linked by the theme of relationships with psychological undercurrents, one story set in turn of the century Vienna and the other in contemporary New York or to be more precise The Hamptons on a summer vacation.

Yet again this small fringe venue has shown that it is a match for the West End and staged a slick and thoroughly professional production. Ria Jones and Mark Adams star in each of the stories and one can sense a definite chemistry in their acting. Both give particularly moving performances in the second story as close friends who know that they are in love with each other but whose marriages are too important for this love to develop. They are supported by an excellent cast and tight direction from Steven Dexter.

The show has some excellent music with very different styles for the two acts and one inter linking song. I always judge a musical by it's tingle factor and this one has it particularly in "How Did I End Up Here?" which Ria Jones sings with tremendous feeling and power and the very moving "Words He Doesn't Say" sung by Mark Adams. The final song "Romantic Notions" sung by the company is as uplifting as it is moving.

Mention must be made of the lighting designed by Alastair Grant and set and projections by Will Bowen. Remarkable for a small theatre on a limited budget.

I have not heard so good a band in such a venue before and was impressed by the sound design which was balanced perfectly...many West End theatres take note!!

If you have not yet been to The Bridewell and like musicals then hurry along and see this most remarkable production of a seldom seen show. I hope that you leave, as I have done after each show I have seen there, thankful that venues like this exist. If your only experiences of musicals are the long-run West End hits then prepare to have your eyes opened to the delights of fringe venues and the intimacy they can bring to a production.'ve done it again!!

(Steven Taylor)

Looking for the best seats...