I am, it is no secret to my friends, a big fan of Sondheims musical about relationships, Company. I can report with a wide smile then, that EUSOGs production at Augustines this year will not disappoint.
Company is a non-linear look at the life of singleton, Bobby. We start at his 35th birthday, were all his friends are either married or in relationships. As we jump around the timeline, we discover their stories and attempt to understand why Bobby himself isnt yet hitched to one of girls in his life. Each vignette picks away at the perfect relationship, until ultimately one could argue Bobby is probably better off on his own.
EUSOGs production simply shines. There are no weak links in the superbly talented cast, who can act just as well as they can sing, and the direction is tight and sharply crafted. Augustines is a bit of a challenging space for any director, but John McQuade really squeezes the most out of it. Using a range of black blocks, he creates a multi-leveled feast for the eyes as well as the ears. The movement is precise, focused and well rehearsed. Ive seen some of this in previous productions, and it is employed to great effect here.
From the very first number, you know youre in for a treat as the harmonies are powerfully delivered. It wouldnt be fair to single out any of the performers, as they were all excellent, and confidently handled Sondheims tricky word play. It is often a problem of musical theatre that great singers arent always great comic actors but that is not a problem here, as the timing and delivery of the humour was spot on.
Company is a perfect musical for those new to Sondheim, and Ive yet to see a better example of his work this year in Edinburgh.