LENNY, ANDREW, STEVE AND ME. Directed by Weslee Swain Lauder. With Jonathan Roxmouth and Louis Zurnamer. Theatre on the Bay.
KAREN RUTTER reviews
That Jonathan Roxmouth! Confident, charismatic, a consummate master of musical theatre. Oh, and did we mention tall, dark and handsome? He even has good hair, for Pete’s sake. And now we learn he is equally at home in an intimate, almost solo spot as he is in humongous, huge cast productions. Lenny, Andrew, Steve and Me proves this point with suave assurance. It’s clever too, because the show is all about big musical moments, stripped down to the essentials.
If one had to sum up the production succinctly, it’s a selection of some of Roxmouth’s favourite pieces by a trio of some of the most famous names in musical theatre – Leonard Bernstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Sondheim. But it’s also a lot more than this. Roxmouth guides us through the whole process, not just cherry-picking the songs he likes, but giving us the backstory to the creative process. What constitutes an overture? When is the right time for light relief? Why do we need a villain? And what are some of the best songs to demonstrate each point? It’s a master class in musical theatre, delivered by possibly our best exponent of the form.
An absolute pleasure
Perfectly complemented by Louis Zurnamer on the piano, whose accompaniment was just the right blend of subtle and assertive, Roxmouth ran us through some of the most memorable moments in the genre. Drawn from Cats and Joseph, West Side Story and Phantom, Into the Woods, Sunset Boulevard and more, what was additionally pleasing was to be able to identify the different styles and shadings of each composer – something not always easy to do, unless the songs are side by side.
There was also a very neat balance between speech and song, which I am sure director Weslee Swain Lauder can take much credit for – setting the right pace for a bit of patter, before lining up the next performance. It worked incredibly well – relaxed, yet with a crisp beat.
Lenny, Andrew, Steve and Me strikes just the right tone in terms of providing a clever script which runs smoothly into beautifully-delivered songs. Roxmouth’s range, his dynamic shading and his delivery add up to a performer at the top of his game, sharing the good stuff. Yes, I know he has done smaller shows before, but that was the first time I’ve personally seen him outside of big musicals, and it was an absolute pleasure.
If you love musical theatre, this is a great chance to see a diverse repertoire performed by an assured professional, accompanied with skill and sensitivity.
What: Lenny, Andrew, Steve and Me
Where and when: Theatre on the Bay from 10 to 21 April 2018