In an industrial New York loft apartment, a slew of couples hold a surprise party for their friend; the 35-year-old, perpetually single Bobby.
As Bobby (played by Brendan Paul) spends time with each couple, he analyses his past romantic relationships and what love offers by way of fulfilment.
But it’s not surprising that Bobby hasn’t found a partner. He’s a narcissistic playboy who, on the surface, doesn’t appear to have genuine feelings for anyone around him. His infinitesimal personal growth over the course of the musical is equally unsurprising. The majority of his friends, who range from similarly self-interested to bland, offer no role model for him to follow.
While this may seem dense and introspective, Stephen Sondheim’s music and lyrics and George Furth’s book form a series of conversational vignettes that are endearingly vulnerable and playfully witty by turns.
Director Julie Baz effectively creates the bustling, buzzing atmosphere of New York that Bobby is lost in by keeping the cast on stage throughout the production. Sondheim’s music is jazzy and the cast produce warm harmonies that fill the theatre.
The women of the cast steal the show, led by Heather Campbell and Maree Cole, who play Company’s genuinely likeable characters. Campbell’s kind-hearted, hilariously neurotic Amy immediately has the audience in the palm of her hand and her comic delivery is strong. Coles’ Jenny is one of the most genuine performances on stage, as is Michele Lansdown’s dysfunctional Joanne.
The production has been pulled together well with effective set and costuming but it’s hard to engage with the character’s plights and musings when they aren’t, for the most part, empathetic. Regardless, Company offers moments of laughter and snapshots of relatable experiences.