Barely a week after its West End opening on May 23 at Wyndham's Theatre, rave critical response to Sam Buntrock and London's Chocolate Factory revival of Sondheim's musical, has led producers Boyett Ostar, David Babani, Danielle Tarento, Caro Newling and Mark Rubinstein to immediately announce a six-week extension. Booking now runs to September 2.
Babani and Tarento are on a winning streak. Two years ago, they took charge of Meniers, the former chocolate factory in Southwark on London's south bank and have since transformed the tiny space into one of London's buzziest off-West End venues. But their revival of the Sondheim musical, respectfully received when it opened at London's National Theatre a decade and a half ago, has exceeded all expectations.
Sondheim's musical reflecting the pointillist technique of French painter Georges Seurat — in its musical and visual recreation of his painting, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" — is perhaps his most personal exploration of the nature of creativity and obsession. The book is by James Lapine.
Buntrock's production first opened at the Chocolate Factory in November 2005, and praise for Daniel Evans, who plays George, and for the ground-breaking projections and animation technology of David Farley and Timothy Bird have been continuous ever since. Both became Laurence Olivier Award winners. The production also won this year's Critics' Circle Drama Award for Best Design and Theatregoer's Choice Award for Best Off-West End Production. It has also been nominated for Best Musical in the London Time Out Live Awards.
Sunday in the Park with George first opened in New York in 1984 and later at London's National Theatre in 1990. At Wyndhams, Daniel Evans repeats his award-winning performance as perfectionist George, seeking harmony and balance at the expense of his relationship with girlfriend, Dot, played by Jenna Russell (recently seen as Sarah Brown in Michael Grandage's Donmar revival of Guys and Dolls).
For more info, see www.sundayinthepark.co.uk. For tickets call 0870 950 0925.
Writer-critic Carole Woddis is temporarily filling in for vacationing London correspondent John Nathan.