Review: COMPANY at ARTS Theatre

A Sondheim classic.

By: Jun. 09, 2023
Review: COMPANY at ARTS Theatre

Reviewed by Ewart Shaw, Thursday 8th June 2023.

Therry Theatre is a fine company of locals dedicated to first-rate productions and Company, the Sondheim musical comedy, is both musically impressive and very funny. Robert, Bobbie to his friends, is turning thirty-five, and the five couples who make up his social circle plan a surprise party. The surprise will be on them. It is justifiably considered one of Sondheim’s greatest, and most beautifully constructed works, and there are great musical numbers.

Jared Frost is outstanding as Bobby. Vocally and dramatically, this is one of the best performances you’re likely to see in the Arts Theatre for quite some time.

Director, David Sinclair, and musical director, Rodney Hrvatin, have assembled a very capable group around him, strong especially in the female roles, as it is to them that Sondheim gives so much of the best material.

Trish Hart, as hard-drinking socialite Joanne, leads The Little Things You Do Together, with its witty rhymes, and her toast, Here’s to the Ladies Who Lunch, is a real showstopper. Emily Fitzpatrick is Kathy, Cassidy Gaiter is April, and Claire Birbeck is Marta, and their trio, You Could Drive a Person Crazy, is zesty indeed. Claire also has the solo spot for Another Hundred People, a tribute to New York as a city of strangers, the sort of place where your small group of friends is a lifesaver.

Sondheim’s insight and wit are so clear in Getting Married Today, where Emily Morris, as Amy, counterpoints the joyous wedding anthem by explaining at great speed that she’s emphatically not getting married today. Grace Frost is Jenny, and the dance captain for Linda Lawson’s stylish choreography. Catherine Breugelmans brings a fine voice to the ensembles.

There are no slouches among the husbands who get some fine ensembles: Sam Mannix, as Harry, Ryan Ricci, as Peter, Ben Todd, as David, Daniel Fleming, as Paul, and, notably, Robin Schmelzkopf, as Larry. I’m almost certain he played Robert in the first production of the show I saw in Adelaide. (Ed., yes, he did)

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