Company (West End) Review

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Cast
Rosalie Craig – Bobbie
Patti LuPone – Joanne
Mel Giedroyc – Sarah
Jonathan Bailey – Jamie
George Blagden – PJ
Ashley Campbell – Peter
Richard Fleeshman – Andy
Alex Gaumond – Paul
David Henders – David
Ben Lewis – Larry
Daisy Maywood – Susan
Jennifer Saayeng – Jenny
Matthew Seadon-Young – Theo
Gavin Spokes – Harry

Venue: Gielgud Theatre

Date: Saturday 27th October 2018 (2:30pm)

Just to give a little bit of perspective around Company it was first performed way back in 1970, a musical comedy by Stephen Sondheim. The original production set a record for being nominated for fourteen Tony Awards and won six of them. So how in 2018 is a show still so relevant and new? I mean yes we have the gender swap of Bobbie and therefore other characters as well. But surely that is something that needed to be done for 2018? A woman reaching the age of 35 and not being married is still very much frowned upon and questions are asked.

Bobbie is a single woman who for some reason cannot commit to full on relationship, before even thinking about marriage. Her friends are five married couples who she loves nothing more than spending time with them. We also get to meet her last three boyfriends, if we can even call them that?

On her 35th birthday everything comes crashing in on her and she pretty much freaks out that she should already be married. Why does she want to get married anyway? So we are taken through different scenarios with her different friends and none of the situations actually make her want marriage anymore. I guess that just shows that yo have to do what is right for you in the long run.

A visually stunning production with the moving sets which often look like being in a photo frame was something I really enjoyed. It was basic and simple but oh so effective that with the blue lights it really did make for pleasant viewing. This was my first experience of Company and it has easily become one of my all time favourite musicals. It had a little bit of everything and carried a very deep and personal meaning.

Like an Sondheim musical the lyrics are clever and quirky very often at the same time. I did know Marry Me a little, Side by Side by Side, The Ladies Who Lunch and of course Being Alive before seeing the show but not a massive amount of knowledge about how they are performed. It was an interesting theatre experience as I could tell by the cheers and appreciation especially when it came to Andy, PJ and Theo. Those songs were originally women to the male Bobby and it certainly did make for some extra amusing moments.

I do need to admit that I quickly bought a ticket for this back in September 2017 because Patti LuPone was in the cast and I am such a huge fan, considering it had been well over 25 years since she had graced the West End, I knew I had to make a trip to London for this. I have also slowly been catching up with Sondheim shows when possible so it all seemed to be the perfect opportunity. Patti does not disappoint and is a true legend of the stage, her presence is unreal and when the whole company is singing you can still make out her powerful voice. Her ovation for ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ was one of the best I have heard in the West End.

Something extra special was this being the first time I have been lucky enough to see Rosalie Craig on stage and I can truly understand why she is rated so highly. She is absolutely amazing and was on another level as Bobbie. She had the freedom to really create the character as a new one considering she had nothing to go on in terms of being the first female lead. An inspired choice! Her rendition of ‘Being Alive’ was outstanding and truly moving from start to finish. What a talent she really is, I was blown away by not only her singing but her acting ability as well. This must not be an easy show to be part of with everything that is going on all the time on stage.

Why did I love Company? Well I am very close to becoming Bobbie myself, at 31 I was creepy towards that 35 mark. Although if I am not married by that age I would happily have all of my friends singing and dancing around me. It was certainly one of those moments where I really had to pinch myself as it felt way too real! But that is something to just really hammer home how important the gender swap was. Would I have felt the same if I was watching a man in that role? I am not entirely sure. But I can tell you one think I am so happy that Bobbie was me and my first was Rosalie Craig.

If Jonathan Bailey performing ‘Getting Married Today’ is not a star turn then I really don’t know what a star turn would be. Truly amazing, both managing to make you laugh and feel sorry for him all at the same time. A total favourite standout moment, such a talent! The whole cast is outstanding and I am now getting to the point where I have seen them in different shows. Ben Lewis, in Forbidden Broadway and Love Me Tender. Richard Fleeshman in Guys and Dolls and The Last Ship. Matthew Seadon-Young in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. I really do enjoy getting to see different sides of actors and this show really is very different. All of the cast having to work very well together, with some jazz hands as part of the routines.

Even getting to the end of the show it really does leave the question – What do you want to get married for?

I would love more than anything to get the chance to see this truly amazing show all over again!

Company is currently booking until 30th March 2019 – Check website for more information and to book tickets.

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4 thoughts on “Company (West End) Review

  1. I’m a big fan of Company and it’s my fave Sondheim musical (of the ones that I’m familiar with) and thought a gender-swapped Bobby was an interesting idea. I didn’t think that Paul/Amy needed to be changed to a gay couple though as I feel Bobby should have been the only one gender-swapped and the rest remain constant.

    I do love the themes of marriage, love, and companionship in this musical and songs like ‘Sorry-Grateful’ and ‘Being Alive’ often address my fears as well as desires to being with a wife.

    And wait, Mel Giedroyc is in this? Whoa!

    Liked by 1 person

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