The musical comedy Company is arguably one of Stephen Sondheim’s greatest works. It has a uniqueness about it in that it feels like an ‘adult’ musical. It tackles grown-up problems in a brilliantly hilarious but sometimes cutting way. It’s so relatable it almost hurts. Whilst we singles idealise the ‘perfect’ lives of our married friends, our married friends envy the freedom we possess. A stark reminder to be happy with what we’ve got. In our desperation to find ‘the one’ we put ourselves at risk of settling for some body rather than somebody. That’s one of my favourite lines in this musical and as my friend so perfectly put it the other day, it makes me question all my life choices. Company has a remarkable ability to summarise what it is to be a single woman in her thirties in a stunning, beautifully directed, impeccably choreographed and unquestionably witty 2hr45m production.
So that was point number one; Company is incredibly relatable. On to the next point. If you’re familiar with Company from back in the day when it was released in 1970, be prepared for a complete overhaul. Award-Winning director Marianne Elliott has taken this production, stripped it down and rebuilt it into something modern and dare I say it, infinitely better than the original. With a number of gender swaps and rejigs Elliott has brought this piece bang up to date and it works unbelievably well.
Point 3: The cast are exceptional. This small cast is bursting with energy and enthusiasm, even when squeezed like sardines into a pretty tiny box. Rosalie Craig hits the nail directly on the head in her portrayal of leading lady Bobbie. She is unfaltering in this role as she weaves through every emotion in the book whilst always delivering first class comedy and flawless vocals. She closes the show with her completely breathtaking version of ‘Being Alive’ leaving the audience gobsmacked and wanting more. Musical theatre legend, Patti LuPone, is brilliantly witty and unsurprisingly stuns the audience with powerful vocals. I was most surprised to find that Mel Giedroyc is remarkably well cast and absolutely hysterical as Sarah. Certainly not just a star casting – I hope to see her do more musical theatre in future. The final stand out for me (the entire cast were phenomenal so its hard to narrow it down) has to be Jonathan Bailey as Jamie. He had the entire audience roaring with laughter throughout his ‘Getting Married Today’ – a real highlight of the show.
Point 4: The entire creative team have just done an all round phenomenal job. Director Marianne Elliott, choreographer Liam Steel, designer Bunny Christie and lighting designer Neil Austin have joined together to create something really special.
Finally, the thing that drove me to write this post in the first place – the music. The 2018 London Cast Recording was released on 2nd February and I have already listened to it from start to finish far too many times. I feel like I have fallen in love with the production all over again. This cast really bring a breath of fresh air to Sondheim’s stunning score and his clever lyrics and subtle comedy come across perfectly. If you don’t get to the show – at least listen to the album!
So, lets summarise. The current London revival of Company breathes new life into this Sondheim classic. With innovative direction from Marianne Elliott, the production feels incredibly modern and relevant. It’s uniquely relatable and refreshingly ‘grown-up’. A stellar cast, stunning score and brilliant staging bring the story to life and will have you laughing out loud and/or silently sobbing throughout.
This revival has already had an extension on its limited West-End run and now must end 30th March 2019. Thats gives you less than 2 months to catch it – don’t be a fool, book your tickets now!
*Production Images by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg