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Sunday, 29 July 2012 21:10

With friends like these...

Written by Laura Kyro
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hawthorneplayers.com
hawthorneplayers.com

There is a saying that being alone doesn’t necessarily mean you’re lonely. Well, that’s not the way the world works in George Furth (book) and Steven Sondheim’s (music and lyrics) Company.

In this musical comedy, first seen on Broadway in 1970, it’s relationships, whether successful, unsuccessful, tentative, potential, or what have you, that are devoutly to be wished, and the comfortably single, 35-year-old Robert (Bobby) is constantly badgered (eventually brainwashed?) by his relationship-oriented friends to find one of his own.

The life of Bobby (a soulful Jeffrey Loyd) is the focus of a literal company of close friends, and women snared in casual affairs that he has little emotional connection with. In two acts we see a variety of chronological vignettes as Bobby interacts with the comfortably married (Dennis Folwarczny II and Courtney Gibson; Miranda West and Tim Grumich), the soon-to-be and then recently divorced (Madison Dennis and Jonathan Hey), the frantic soon-to-be-married (Kathryn Weber) and her sensitive intended (Devin Vogel), and the oft married (Lynda Waters and Rich Dickerson). Encounters are also seen with on-and-off girlfriends and casual flings (a delightfully quirky Caitlin Mickey, Lauren Yates, and a delightfully giddy Alicia Revé).

It’s the songs that are revealing and thoughtful and tend to move most of the plot along (Sondheim standards such as “Company,” “Another Hundred People,” “The Ladies Who Lunch,” “Being Alive”), but there are also extended dialogue scenes that seem to be mostly superfluous filler. Confidently supporting the songs was a nicely understated orchestra led by David Williams that allowed the songs to shine.

Technically, the show was for the most part very satisfactory. A simple multi-level set (Renee Sevier-Monsey) and intimations of the big city (New York, of course) served well; lighting (Tony Anselmo) seemed a tad muted downstage but by and large did the job; costumes (Colleen Heneghan) suited the characters; and sound effects (Chuck Lavazzi) generally were fine (however, one sharp cutoff on a sound effect was puzzling).

The opening night performance was somewhat uneven in that cast energy was high for the musical numbers, but the dialogue sections between dragged. Too, it was at times difficult to hear lyrics if personal mic levels weren’t modulated properly (or may have been off entirely), and when dialogue was spoken without projection. Gotta hear it to appreciate it.

In general however, Director Renee Sevier-Monsey and Vocal Director Nicole Robbins have turned out an enjoyable show that should even out with repeated performances.

Company runs 2 hours 45 minutes with a 20-minute intermission. Catch it in the Florissant Civic Center Theatre through Aug. 5, 2012. You may visit hawthorneplayers.com for more information.

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