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Anyone Can Whistle is a bold revival of elusive Sondheim musical – review

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Anyone Can Whistle was a flop when it first opened on Broadway in 1964, closing after just nine performances. The first major production of a Sondheim show since the composer’s death is Southwark Playhouse’s bold revival of this elusive work – from our experience it’s not difficult to see why it wasn’t a success first time around.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with Sondheim’s score – far from his finest collection of songs, but ‘Anyone Can Whistle’ and ‘There Won’t Be Trumpets’ are both excellent – the issue lies with Arthur Laurents’ baffling and sometimes problematic book.

This political satire follows the story of corrupt mayoress Cora Hoover Hooper, who doesn’t care for running the town well as long as she remains popular.

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