"Does the man make the music or does the music make this man..."
Both Sarah and Dan come from musical families and are accomplished musicians as well as singers, dancers and actors. That they have so many talents to bring to their roles is no coincidence as director Matt Devitt was looking for a cast of actor-musicians for They're Playing Our Song when Sarah and Dan were called in separately in for auditions.
"Dan’s character is a composer and pianist, so Dan plays a few of the songs himself on an on-stage piano" explains Sarah whilst musical director Greg Last and multi-instrumentalist Barbara Hockaday create the music using an assortment of keys, bass, percussion and brass and play Sonia and Vernon’s “inner voices".
There are some numbers in the show when they are all four on stage together but the best known songs are the ballads, even though the title song is addictively catchy.
There is Vernon's first act "Falling" well–described by Dan as "a beautifully simple piece and really captures the style of the time", "If He Really Knew Me" first sung by Sonia and reprised by Vernon, and the 11 o'clock number “I Still Believe In Love”.
Dan is right to raise the issue of "the style of the time". The show is some thirty years old and I remember the 2008 production of the show at London's Menier Theatre getting some critical swipes about its age.
As Sarah and Dan say, it has to be played within its period not least because the plot would be very different if Vernon and Sonia had had mobile phones. Sarah makes the point that book–writer "Neil Simon’s writing appeals to people of all generations and the audience will see the humour in the sticky situations they find themselves in".
I'm with her on that. Whilst this may not be the best output from Simon, Hamlisch and Bayer Sager, there is something engaging about its uncomplicated, unfussy telling of a love story.
That real-life partners are working together singing songs written by real-life partners in a show about love, living together and writing songs seems to somehow take me right back to life imitating art.
They're Playing Our Song runs in rep at the Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch, from 8 to 30 March. Sarah Mahony and Dan de Cruz will also appear in Ray Cooney's farce Run for Your Wife from 19 April to 18 May. For further information and booking visit www.queens-theatre.co.uk.