Company: A Musical Comedy (2007) - 8 stars out of 10
“Company” is a great musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The story is presented as a series of vignettes that focus on different couples, all connected by the mutual and lonely friend Robert. I love the music. The film offers a lot of contrasting musical moments, from the impressionist chords at the end of the vocal Overture to the wordy Gilbert-and-Sullivan-like “Getting Married Today” and the emotional aria “Being Alive.” Sondheim established a signature sound that is completely unique to this show and I could listen to the music all day. The plot, however, gets a bit darker than I was prepared for. I suppose that the steady theme of marriage discontent should have clued me in but I felt a slight disconnect between the upbeat songs and the progressively depressing subject matter. Still, the show has some great moments and the 2006 Broadway revival emphasizes them. The construction of the show is very cool, putting the pit instruments onstage in the hands of the actors. The choreography often features the instruments, almost as a piece of the character’s personality (mellow trumpet, jazzy saxophone). The acting is superb, particularly Raúl Exparza as Bobby. His character begins so nonchalant that builds into an emotional crescendo at the end of “Being Alive.” I was also blown away by Heather Laws as Amy, frantically spitting out all of her lyrics with perfect diction, and Barbara Walsh as Joanne during her emotive “The Ladies Who Lunch.” Her voice got on my nerves a bit during her final scene, but I suppose that it perfectly embodied her drunken state. It is no surprise that this production won a Tony for Best Revival and we are so lucky to be able to experience this performance of “Company” far into the future!