Written by 5:59 pm Golden West College, Huntington Beach, Musical, Review, Theater, Uncategorized

A Little Night Music @ Golden West College – Review

(This shows run has ended)
All photography by Greg Parks.

Written by Daniella Litvak

Musical theater legend Harold Prince, who directed and produced the original Broadway production of A Little Night Music, described the show as “Whipped-cream with knives.” Conceptually, it’s an apt metaphor. However, in execution the knives are somewhat lost in all the whipped-cream. Or rather, I wish the show was not just “Whipped-cream with knives” but a hot fudge sundae (with the different textures and temperatures the ice cream, hot fudge, nuts and cherry provides alongside the whipped-cream) with knives.


Anne (Amanda MacDonald) and Fredrik (Mark Waters) married less than a year ago, and it’s not a very functional marriage. She is much younger than him. He is having an affair with his old flame, Desiree (Mary Frances Conover). Desiree is also seeing the married Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm (Liam Cavanaugh). Meanwhile, Fredrick’s son from his previous marriage, Henrik (Joey Nestra-West), is miserable because he is attracted to Anne. The unresolved sexual tension comes to a head when everyone spends a weekend in the country at the estate of Desiree’s mother, Madame Armfeldt (Megan Cherry).

A Little Night Music is ultimately a sex farce—possibly the most polite sex farce I have seen performed on stage. It is too restrained. The music plays a large factor in this. Most of the music is in waltz meter, which gives the show a dreamy, fantasy vibe. It is the aforementioned whipped cream. It is smooth and nice, but it gets monotonous and hides the knives too well.

The knives do come out on occasion, though. The dialogue features more than a handful of delicious zingers. The songs are good, even if they sound too similar as the show goes on. “Send in the Clowns” is an understandably beloved song. Conover’s rendition of it was affecting.

Mary Frances Conover and Mark Waters


The cast was solid overall, and the singing was done well for the most part. Cherry as Madame Armfeldt and Novelee Smedley as Countess Charlotte Malcolm are delightfully snarky. The maid, Petra (Payton Moore) physical reactions to various plot twists were priceless.

The standout performance belonged to Cavanaugh as Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm. The story does not truly begin until the Count shows up. He is the much-needed weight amidst the fluff. The character is a boor, but Cavanaugh gives him charisma. Despite being all about male posturing, the scenes between the Count and Fredrick are amongst the most riveting in the show.


A Little Night Music takes place in early twentieth-century Sweden. The costumes are period-appropriate and tailored to the characters. Fredrick is a lawyer, and the Count is a dragoon, so they wear a suit and a military uniform. Desiree is an actress, so her red evening gown contrasts with young Anne’s white gown. Aside from looking good, the costuming adds to the humor. An absurdly long nightcap caused some of the biggest laughs of the night.


The show wraps everything up very neatly – perhaps too neatly. If the story moved a bit faster and dug deeper into the messiness, the whipped-cream would not have been as overwhelming.

8 Overall
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Good Show! OCR Recommended! April 26 – May 5, 2024

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