Theatre Mirror Reviews-"Company"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2014 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 The final show of The Players 105th season is Stephen Sondheim's "Company". The show is set in New York City and is about Robert, 35 years old with charm, good looks and humor. "Company" is a concept musical composed of short vignettes and takes place on his 35th birthday where the audience meets his ten married friends and three of his girl friends. Robert is the only one in his group of friends without a spouse, and his peers thinks that needs to be corrected. He is afraid of not being married but is hesitant due to the imperfections in his friends' marriages. "Company" was nominated for 14 Tony Awards, won six of them when it first opened on Broadway on April 26, 1970, running for 705 performances. Director Kate Ambrosini picks 14 terrific performers to fill these roles while musical director Joe Carvalho taught them the intricate Sondheim numbers. Choreographers Michael Maio and Eddie Camara supply the dance steps for the show especially impressive is Side by Side performed by the whole cast.The cast is rewarded with a resounding ovation at the close of the show.

David DeAlmo plays the huge role of Robert, proving he is a triple threat performer who can sing, act and dance with finesse. He is onstage for the whole show delivering a tour-de-force performance, capturing the inner turmoil and angst of the character splendidly. David is a human dynamo, moving from one vignette to another with ease. One of his funniest moments occurs in the bedroom scene when he tries to copulate with the stewardess and all his friends show up to comment on it. David's powerful singing voice soars off the charts in "Someone is Waiting" which he sings to the wives in Act 1 and "Marry Me a Little" at the end of Act 1. The comic bedroom number duet is "Barcelona" and the fabulous pathos inducing "Being Alive" moves the audience to tears with David's powerhouse rendition of it. His voice soars up to a high A. This latter number is Bobby's final realization of needing someone to call his own. I first reviewed David when he was in high school back in 2005. He excels at every role I have seen him in. Bravo!

The five married couples have many funny moments, too. The group numbers "Company", "Side by Side" and "What Would We Do Without You" shine with their singing and dancing skills. Jason Quinn and Rebecca Phillips Kilcline 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 Robert drinks. Jason displays his voice in "Sorry-Grateful", Sondheim's reflection on married life. Eddie Camara as Peter and Jennifer Jackson as Susan are the couple who surprises Bobby by getting divorced. A gay motive for the divorce is alluded to in the second act with Peter making a suggestive comment to Bobby. Both of them do a wonderful job with their facial expressions and comic line delivery. Also funny is her Southern accent. The third couple, David and Jenny are well played by David Alves and Holly Applegate as the dope smoking couple. This scene is hilarious as she swears up a storm while denying she is high. David displays his voice in many solo segments including "Sorry-Grateful'' while she displays her strong soprano voice in "Bless this Bride" solo. They both handle their roles with ease.

The fourth couple Paul and Amy are played by Tim Harper and Julian Trilling This couple almost didn't get married due to her pre-wedding jitters. She calls off the wedding to Paul by telling him she doesn't love him but fortunately thinks things through and they get married at last. Julian clad in a white wedding dress, does an excellent job with the tongue twisting lyrics of the patter song "I'm Not Getting Married Today". Tim remains very patient with her wacky behavior and displays his strong voice in the solo parts of this song. He delivers a poignant moment when he leaves the scene crushed by her rejection. The final couple is Elizabeth Messier as Joanne and Mark Lima as Larry. This couple has an inactive marriage because she is bitchy, is on husband # three and is looking to make it with any man around including Bobby. Elizabeth does a terrific job with her eleventh hour number, the bitter "Ladies Who Lunch". This song is reminiscent of Sondheim's "I'm Still Here" from "Follies". She is astounding in this number, winning a long ovation at the close of it. Mark plays the long suffering husband who puts up with her shenanigans and gives into her every whim. His strong baritone voice is heard in "Sorry-Grateful".

The last performers who get to shine in this show are Bobby's three girlfriends. Sarah Dunn as Marta, Kim Harper as April and Elaine Leitao as Kathy sing an Andrews Sisters type of a song about their relationships with Bobby called "You Could Drive a Person Crazy" and they give him the finger at the end of it. Sarah is the hippie girlfriend with a wacky philosophical look at the world. She belts out her solo, "Another Hundred People" in her marvelous soprano voice about her view of NYC. Sarah as Marta also tells Bobby how to figure out whether people are uptight or not by checking out their asses. Kim is a hoot as the dimwitted stewardess who sings a duet with David called "Barcelona" after a night of hot passionate sex while scantily clad. Bobby wants her to leave but April thinks he wants her to stay because of her sad butterfly story. Elaine plays Kathy, the girl that Bobby let slip away from him and should have married all along. She handles the irony in this scene wonderfully as she decides to return to Cape Cod to marry someone else. Elaine also performs a sultry dance solo while April is in bed with Bobby.So for a trip back to one of Sondheim's earliest shows, be sure to catch "Company" at The Players before time runs out. To become a member of this theater club, be sure to call Bill Applegate for details.

"Company" (9 - 18 May)
@ 400 Benefit Street, PROVIDENCE RI

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide