By Milan Perera, Second Year English
Music Theatre Bristol, renowned for showcasing stellar musical productions over the years, have certainly lived up to expectations in their production of Company, which ticked all the boxes.
Based on a novel by Robert Furth, the late Stephen Sondheim was at the height of his creative prowess when he wrote Company for theatre in 1970. Sondheim skilfully moulded Furth’s material and fitted it with high octane foot-tapping music; the final result certainly does not disappoint, in fact it has been an evergreen classic in the musical theatre repertoire since its premiere.
To marry, or not to marry, that is the question which has been bothering Robert, a Manhattan bachelor who has just turned 35. His devoted friends are throwing him a lavish surprise party who seem to be happily married, or are they? Harry Clements slipped into the shoes of New York resident Robert with ease and portrayed the role with the necessary finesse without ever sounding like a caricature.
The musical trio, ‘Getting Married Today’, on the impending nuptials of Robert’s friends, Amy and Paul, brought the house down with the dazzling virtuosity displayed by Trinity Taylor who played Amy. Taylor perfectly captured the anxiety of the bride-to-be in the frantic number where the tempo was at a breakneck pace.
The fan favourite, ‘Ladies Who Lunch’, replete with wry philosophical musings on anything and everything, was executed with ease by Katie Rough who played Joanna. ‘Being Alive’ is without a doubt the signature tune of Robert in the musical where he converses with his married friends on the merits and demerits of love and marriage. Harry Clements’ spine-tingling rendition did not go unnoticed as the audience irrupted to a raucous applause subsequently.
Nell Cox’s spectacular revival strikes like a lightning bolt, surging with fresh energy and sublimating the much-loved musical to a burnished sheen. The choreography devised by Evie Rutter was sophisticated, sassy and sensational, while the orchestra led by Madeleine Warren never set a foot wrong. The orchestral tone was rich and warm, without ever sounding kitsch, deftly accompanying the singers.
The standing ovation at the curtain call mixed with shouts of ‘bravo’ was a testament to the stellar quality of the production. The show-stopping performance was bold and brilliant, keeping the audience thoroughly entertained throughout. ‘Company! Life is company’ sang the opening number, and this Company was astonishing.
Featured Image: Courtesy of MTB
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