Company: a review

Company: a review

I had 7 theatre trips booked from January and April. I promised myself I wouldn’t book anything else until half of them had been seen. Then I found out that Company was only on the West End until March, so I panic bought more theatre tickets. I need to be stopped.

But hey, it has led to yet another theatre review for my blog! Technically, that means that I can count it as a “business expense”, right? At least, that’s what I’m gonna tell myself as the money leaves my bank account.

What is Company?

This particular production of Company follows the life of Bobbie – a single woman living in new York, surrounded by friends who are in (seemingly) happy couples. The play starts on Bobbie’s 35th birthday, and continues to circle back to it throughout, as she re-evaluates her life (and mostly her relationship status) now that she’s 35. Between the birthday scenes, we watch her interact as the third wheel in each of the different couples she’s surrounded by. Throughout this process, we learn that those couples may not be as perfect as they first appeared…

Before describing the show, I noted that “this particuar production” follows single woman Bobbie. That’s because, up until this production, Bobbie was a male character. However, Director Marianne Elliott decided to take a new female-centric approach in this modern recreation. (Apart from the reversed gender roles, the general premise of the show is the same… I think).

What did I think?

I feel like these theatre reviews are getting predictable, because I come out singing everything’s praises… But, what can I say? I’ve seen some pretty great theatre recently. In short, I loved it. I laughed, I gasped and I stared in awe. It’s been a very long time since I went into a musical with no expectations, and it did not disappoint.

The staging

I feel like (from the little I know about Company) there’s always been some sort of block/moving pieces element to it? At least, there was in this one, and the 2011 Neil Patrick Harris bootleg on YouTube and the couple of numbers I performed with my school a few years ago. However, I loved the modern way in which the staging was executed in this one. Scene changes involved neon outlined boxes that moved about the stage as they changed: be that rising from the bottom, being dragged/pulled or gliding in from the side. It was fun to watch, and brilliantly done.

The cast

Again, going into it I had no idea who any of them were, apart from Patti Lupone, who I was very excited to see live. However, on reading the program before it started I found out that Mel (formerly) from Great British Bake Off was in it?! And she was a pretty prominent part?! I was hyped. Special shoutouts go to…

Mel Giedroyc as Sarah

Like I said, I was mainly interested in Mel because she came from GBBO, but I have to say she really impressed. Her comedic timing was great, she can sing, and her character was funny in a patronising way. Good job Mel.

Rosalie Craig as Bobbie

MY GOD I was tired just watching her. As the star of the show, Bobbie is in pretty much every scene, and Rosalie Craig did a fantastic job of keeping up the energy. She was the definition of a star and she was really captivating to watch.

Jonathan Bailey as Jamie

The drama was great, the comedic timing was brilliant, and he deserves an award for his rendition of ‘Getting Married Today’. How he didn’t run out of breath I will never know.

The songs

I won’t lie, I have a love-hate relationship with Sondheim (The composer of this musical and many others, such as Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd and the lyrics for West Side Story). I feel like, though I greatly appreciate his work, his style just isn’t one for me. However, I was already a massive fan of ‘Getting Married Today’ and the song ‘Company’ is brilliant with all the overlapping, so I was excited for those two at least.

Both ‘Getting Married Today’ and ‘Company’ did not fail to impress me, and I liked that they reworked ‘Getting Married Today’ into a gay wedding scene (which was incredibly hilarious). However, I felt like this musical had a mix of songs that were thoroughly entertaining and captivating, and songs that seemed shoved in and out of place… For example, though LuPone’s rendition of ‘The Little Things You do Together‘ made sense in context and was funny and well performed, it felt a little disjointed and thrown in. I felt the same way about ‘Another Hundred People’ and ‘Have I got a Guy for You’. That being said, there were many songs I absolutely loved, standouts including:

  • You Could Drive a Person Crazy: Which was performed as a barbershop-style trio by her ex-boyfriends and was absolutely hilarious in a somewhat subtle but cute way.
  • Side By Side: The choreography and general staging/set-up of this number was so creative and captivating. It may actually be one of my new favourite ensemble numbers in a musical ever? Plus the song is incredibly catchy.
  • Poor Baby: It was crude, it was rife with irony, it was hilarious. I loved everything they did with this song.
  • Barcelona: The dumb pilot made this so much funnier than other versions that I’d seen. Good job (guy who plays him)

The story

One of my favourite parts of Company is who real and thought provoking the story is. Bobbie is facing a life crisis because she’s the only single one amongst her friends and they all seem awfully concerned with her odd single status. Though at the beginning it looks like she is the odd one for not settling down, the more you see each relationship, the more you realise that all of them have their own problems.

I found it very true to life in this way. It pushed a message that so many people have needed to hear at some point or other in their life. Society pushes this weird message that you will only be happy if you are in a relationship, but Company teaches you that there’s no point being in one for the sake of it. Of course they can be amazing and happy – and Company never disputes that, but it shows that they’re not all sunshine and rainbows, and settling down in an unhappy relationship isn’t worth the settling down.

Top tip

If you can, spend a little more on the seats. While, as a student, I strongly believe in the power of £15 tickets, and believe that you can get a good view for most of them, this is a production that deserves a better view. I’m not saying spend £100+ to sit right at the front or anything, but we were right at the top and missed certain parts of the stage. For such a physical production, it deserves to be seen in all its glory. However, that being said, I could see more than enough, so don’t panic too much if the £15 tickets are all you can afford.

Have you seen Company? Would you want to? Let me know in the comments!

Lots of love,

Jas xx

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