Company

Company, Sondheim’s second Tony Award winner, is a difficult show to get right: it’s disjointed, complex, and built on subject matter that can be uncomfortable to look at. But when it’s done well, it’s a mature, yet still fun exploration of marriage and relationships and a great evening’s entertainment. EUSOG’s performance is exactly that. It doesn’t challenge any visual or performance tropes of the show, it follows along with them. But it does so excellently, and presents this show in such a way that I got an opportunity to listen to a great show done simply and done well.

A well executed performance of a classic

Robert is a perennially single man, but it’s all ok, because he’s surrounded by his best friends: five married couples, and his three girlfriends. Through discrete vignettes Company asks questions about how marriage works, whether or not it does at all, and what the value of it is. In examining each of the pairs, we learn something new about both the couple and about Robert, and how they see the institution. These characters have problems and aspects that make them infuriate the other, and it’s through this that we see the trials and tribulations of how making a relationship functions. Many of the characters are often unlikeable, which could harm the show if it weren’t for the fact that the cast couldn’t help but manage to inject oodles of charm into their performances. In particular, credit must go to Ethan Baird as Robert, whose voice was smooth as silk, and whose performance was just riddled with likeable, fun and charm.

The music reminded me just how much I love a live band and this one deserves a special mention for adding so much fun to the show. Vocals were excellent across the board and the choreography, although a little loose and effortless at times was also well received. The microphones were ok for the most part, but there were moments when I missed significant portions of a song because they weren’t up on time or on the right person. The staging wasn’t necessarily dull, but certainly wasn’t interesting, and there could have been more opportunity to add complexity to the blocking, lighting or set.

While the show’s simplicity was charming, it meant that an opportunity for something more visually impressive was lost. But in spite of not being challenging or innovative, there is space for a well executed performance of a classic. Company fits the bill.

Reviews by Miles Hurley

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Performances

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The Blurb

Fresh from another sold out five-star Fringe run, EUSOG returns with Sondheim’s Tony award-winning tale of loneliness, marriage and friendship. This hilarious yet poignant concept musical introduces us to Robert and his vibrant group of friends, through whom he and the audience examine the benefits and drawbacks of marital life. Sondheim’s masterful score is fresh and romantic and, alongside Furth’s comedic and energetic book, allows for our colourful interpretation. With the songs stylistically disconnected from the action, we see the characters’ inner thoughts as they question being alive and if all we need is company.

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