It is rare to attend a Sondheim Musical not knowing that much about it. This is mainly due to it being a flop in its original Broadway production in the 1960's. So with totally fresh eyes, how does this zany political and social satire appear now? It's wonderfully silly nonsense with some stand-out Sondheim numbers that sweeps you up in its breathtaking enthusiasm. With cartoonish design and delivery and well placed comedic performances and choreography , this is a show to sit back and enjoy every zany minute.

What makes it current is the cast's diversity and how wonderful to see this in the context of this musical. Plus, how the choice of setting the play in traverse; means that the audience automatically become involved as the townsfolk.
The show is set in a small town in America on the brink of bankruptcy. The Mayor and here three cronies hatch a plot to stage a miracle with a large rock spouting water. What stands in their way, is the 'Cooky Jar' the towns mental institution. When Nurse Fay Apple gathers her 'cookies' to queue to take of the waters, it is going to deliberately test the miracle and threaten to expose it's fakeness. In the ensuing mayhem, to either expose or hold onto the miracle, the musical questions who actually are the 'sane' ones.

Alex Young, plays the Mayor Cora Hoover Hooper with an obsession for pink and power with such glee and perfect comic timing it is a joy to watch. Plus her vocal dexterity turns the number 'A Parade in Town' into a show stopper to rival 'Don't Rain on My Parade' from Funny Girl. Chrystine Symone as Nurse Fay Apple delivers some of the shows more memorable songs with a clarity and honesty that is captivating. But for sheer stage presence, in their professional debut as J. Bowden Hapgood, Jordan Broatch is the star turn. As the outsider who becomes instigator of social change, questioning the validity of madness, theirs is a pivotal role within the insanity of Arthur Laurents book. They bring a youthful currency that heralds a fuller diversity in Musical Theatre.

Georgie Rankcom's direction cleverly avoids any sense of the literal and simply revels in the fun that can be gained from such an openly interpretative piece. The key to enjoying this musical is to set aside some of our current hang-ups and don't over analyse, just enjoy what is a couple of hours on insanely uplifting fun.