Thursday, October 6, 2016

QUICK TAKE REVIEW By Beverly Creasey Keeping COMPANY Alive

I’ve seen COMPANY a good many times and it always seemed, alas, to amount to less than the sum of its parts. The songs and their contexts never came together for me. Mind you, I loved the songs but the stories seemed disconnected. Last night I saw the Lyric Stage’s version of COMPANY (playing through Oct. 9th) and I believed that these vibrant people celebrating Bobby’s birthday really know each other… and are truly connected to each other. And now I see that there’s a plot! And a very sad ending, to boot. Who knew!

Spiro Veloudos did. His production has the characters always watching, sharing, despairing over Bobby’s meandering, anchorless life. Now Sondheim’s songs are lovely and funny and sardonic… and they have a trajectory! The Lyric cast delivers the momentum and sings the heck out of them (under Catherine Stornetta’s smart music direction). I noticed the clarinet laughing this time and I even found George Furth’s book delightful! Everyone has a moment or two or three or four.

It’s really not fair to pick one song or one performer over another, except to say, these are my favorites: Erica Spyres’ on the money “I’m Not Getting Married Today” with Teresa Winner Blume’s fabulously over the top, operatic wedding singer; the cheeky vaudeville “Side by Side by Side” (deliciously choreographed by Rachel Bertone); Matthew Zahnzinger’s hilariously awkward proposition to John Ambrosino’s Bobby; Maria LaRossa’s gorgeous, frenetic dance solo; Adrianne Hick’s quirky take on the “dumb blonde” role; Keri Wilson’s karate coup and the goose bump raising, desperate, tragic “Ladies Who Lunch” from Leigh Barrett (paired with Will McGarrahan’s elegant, longsuffering husband).