Steve ★★★★★ Seven Dials Playhouse | Feb 8 - Mar 19, 2022


The Seven Dials Playhouse is a delightful new addition to the London theatre scene. It is a well-appointed, intimate venue that, if this first production is an example, promises to bring high-quality productions to its stage. Steve takes us into the world of a group of middle-aged friends living in New York City. The three characters who are at the core of the group have all had theatrical careers, and they interact with the ease and kind of banter that only comes with the intimacy of old friendships. Steven (David Ames), Carrie (Jenna Russell) and Matt (Michael Walters) trade zingers, share sharp put-downs and toss off great throwaway lines with an affection and rapidity that is both totally enjoyable and thoroughly believable. Each actor in the trio does a simply superb job and their brittle, but loving interactions set the perfect tone for a play that is an homage to Stephen Sondheim and which has enough references to his works and other Broadway musicals to become its own trivia night. Mark Gerrard's script completely captures the master's tone and his wise-cracking urbanites face the trials of love and life with endless bittersweet quips. As with the work of Sondheim himself, the play faces the big issues but it does so with a certain ironic, self-protective detachment. Characters don't achieve fairytale transformations. Instead, they may learn to make incremental changes in the context of increased self-acceptance. Director, Andrew Keates, does a fine job exploiting the space available and his work is beautifully supported by clever video projections and the evocative, allusive music of Ben Papworth. If you love intelligent and amusing theatre, don't miss this terrific production in the West End's newest bijou showcase!

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by The Other Richard.

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