Theatre Mirror Reviews-"Company"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2015 by Tony Annicone


A Review by Tony Annicone

Footlights Repertory Company's summer show is Stephen Sondheim's "Company" in concert. The show is set in NYC and is about Robert who is 35 with charm, good looks and humor. "Company" is a concept musical composed of short vignettes which takes place on his birthday where the audience meets his ten married friends and three of his girl friends. Robert is the only one of his ten friends who isn't married and his friends want to remedy this situation. He's afraid not to be married but is hesitant due to the imperfections in the marriages of his friends. "Company" first opened on Broadway on April 26, 1970 and ran for 701 performances, being nominated for fourteen Tony Awards, winning six of them. Directors Eli Bigelow and Cameron Torres pick 15 topnotch performers to play these roles and Eli as musical director taught them the intricate Sondheim harmonies especially impressive is "Side by Side'' performed by the whole cast. The whole cast has awesome voices.Their expertise wins their cast a standing ovation at the close of the show.

Colin Sullivan plays the huge role of Bobby. He is onstage for the whole show while delivering a tour-de-force performance, capturing the inner turmoil of the character. Colin is a human dynamo moving from one vignette to the next with ease. One of the funniest scenes is the bedroom scene where he tries to copulate with a stewardess while the chorus comments on the proceedings. Colin's voice soars off the charts in "Some Is Waiting" which he sings to the wives in Act 1 as well as "Marry Me a Little" at the end of the first act. The comic bedroom duet is "Barcelona" while the fabulous pathos inducing "Being Alive" near the close of the show, brings tears to the eyes of the audience. Colin delivers the goods when Bobby finally realizes he needs someone to call his own.

The five married couples have many funny moments, too. The group numbers "Company", "Side by Side" and "What'll I Do" shine with their dancing and vocal skills. Nishan Lawton and Jessica Barlett as Harry and Sarah make the constantly arguing, karate practicing couple into a comic romp. She is always on a diet while he is an alcoholic who keeps offering Bobby a drink. Nishan displays his voice in "Sorry, Grateful", Sondheim's reflection on married life. Michael O'Malley and Abbi Wirta as Peter and Susan, surprise Robert by getting divorced. A gay motive for the divorce is alluded to in the second act when Peter makes a suggestive comment to Robert. Both of them do a wonderful job with their facial expressions and comic line delivery. Also funny is her Southern accent. Joe Reynolds and Stefani Lawton as David and Jenny are the dope smoking couple. This is one of the funniest scenes in the show as she swears up a storm while denying she is high. Joe displays his strong singing voice in "Sorry, Grateful" while she displays her voice in "Poor Baby". They both handle their roles with ease.

The fourth couple Paul and Amy are played by Justin Grnakewicz and Emily Buckley. The their wedding is almost called off due to her telling him she doesn't love him. Emily sings the tongue twisting lyrics of "I'm Not Getting" and Justin remains patient with her and remains patient with her during her meltdown.. Jessica Gates sings the wedding solo. He delivers a poignant moment when he leaves the scene crushed by her rejection. The final couple of Larry and Joanne is well played by Mario Mona and Janet Silveira Maynard. The couple has an inactive marriage because she is bitchy, is on husband # 3 and is looking to make it with any man around. Janet does a terrific job in the eleventh hour number "Ladies Who Lunch" which is reminiscent of Sondheim's "I'm Still Here" from "Follies." Mario plays her long suffering husband who puts up with her antics and gives in to her every whim.

  The last performers who get to shine are Bobby's three girlfriends. Alex Sweeney as Marta, Keara Benton as April and CJ Hawes as Kathy sing an Andrews Sisters' style song "You Could Drive a Person Crazy" and they give him the finger at the close of the number. Alex is the wacky one who sings "Another Hundred People" and tells Bobby to check people's asses to find out what they are like. Keara is a hoot as the dimwitted April who sings "Barcelona" duet with him while CJ Hawes plays Kathy the gal that Bobby let slip away from him and should have married him after all. She handles the scene wonderfully as she agrees to marry someone else. So for a trip back to Sondheim's earliest shows, be sure to catch "Company" at Foolights before time runs out. This is my 1400th review.

"Company" (6 - 9 August)
@ 65 Milford Road, SWANSEA MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide