Good Company But It Outstays Its Welcome
To the Southwark Playhouse, set underneath the arches by London Bridge railway station. The place smells of damp and trains rumble overhead. Ah, the joys of fringe theatre. Stephen Sondheim’s Company is one of his louder, more insistent offerings — or perhaps the six-piece band was just blasting out the tunes to disguise the train noises. The story concerns a 35-year-old New York city bachelor, Bobby (Rupert Young), who finds his thoughts turning to matrimony. Not that he has a leading candidate. He is just afraid not to get married. Bobby’s various married friends (it’s a big cast, mostly divvied into couples) urge him on. But why? The various wives seem to love Bobby. The husbands envy him his independence. And yet they, too, want him to marry. At times it feels like a musical version of a Woody Allen film.
The evening could do with some cutting. The stark staging leaves behind the Seventies and places the action firmly in the 21st century. It might be slightly more fun if they had done it in period costume with more colour.
Mr Young’s Bobby looks a scruffy fellow to me, yet he sings blamelessly enough.
The evening’s best moment is when Cassidy Janson sings Getting Married Today, full of astonishingly quickfire lines with trademark Sondheim wit.
The most touching song is Sorry Grateful, which captures some of the bittersweet nature of love, its many rewards and its occasional sacrifices.
In the end, Bobby and his friends come down firmly on the side of marriage, for its company and its life-affirming potential. If they could only find a way of doing that 20 minutes sooner, the show would be improved.
Source: Daily Mail