With its gender swapped characters and contemporary tinkering, this 1970 Broadway musical comedy by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth feels like it was written last week.
Company tells the story of Bobbie (Rosalie Craig), a New Yorker whose singleton status at 35 is the main topic of conversation among her colourful circle of friends.
I’ve been a fan of Rosalie Craig since I first saw her in the Tori Amos musical The Light Princess at the National Theatre where she spent a fair amount of time singing upside down.
She’s no less versatile and impressive here as the bemused outsider looking on as her friends’ relationships play out. Often spotlit, Craig literally glows on stage in her red dress. It’s hard to take your eyes off her. Especially when she’s clutching a birthday balloon big enough to carry her into the upper circle.
A strong supporting cast includes Patty LuPone as much-married Joanne, whose song Ladies Who Lunch will surely be a nightly showstopper, while Mel Giedroyc’s jujitsu-loving Sarah provides a lot of the biggest laughs in Act One.
Almost worth the price of admission alone is the show’s most ingeniously staged setpiece in which Jonathan Bailey’s gay character Jamie delivers a super-fast song about pre-nuptial jitters (Getting Married Today) amid frantic activity in his kitchen.
Bunny Christie’s clever design sees the story unfold inside a set of gliding neon-edged boxes which frame New York’s assorted rooms, exteriors and train carriages.
With Sondheim’s blessing, director Marianne Elliott had a vision and it worked: this reinvented show is a joy from start to finish.