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Loft Theatre review: Company

Company, Loft Theatre, Leamington, Dec 1-11.

By Heidi Barber

It seems somewhat poignant that as we approach yet another phase of COVID restrictions, the main theme of the Loft theatre’s current production is all aboutmeeting up with friends and the importance of relationships in our lives.

Company, Stephen Sondheim’s sixth Broadway musical, was his breakthrough to serious credibility. It was the winner of seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best score, Best Lyrics and Best Book.

The show consists of a minimally plotted collection of songs and stories (more like a revue than a traditional musical) about a single man, his married friends, and several girlfriends.

At 35, Robert, played convincingly by Chris Gilbey-Smith, wrestles with relationships and commitment while his married friends explain the pros and cons of taking on a spouse. With an engaging mix of settings and situations, including a very amusing scene involving a couple demonstrating karate

moves, we are taken on a journey with Robert which keeps the audience absorbed.

The excellent supporting cast make light work of the sometimes, complex harmonies, with Marta, played by Vicky Holding giving an excellent rendition of one of the show’s key songs, Another Hundred People,, set to an atmospheric backdrop of film sequences depicting the city of New York.

The production closes as it opened, with a rendition of the title song, Company, sung by the entire cast. “Company” is the opposite of solitude and loneliness. It means being surrounded by friends and loved ones and as the lyrics say, “that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?"

As highlighted by Chris Gilbey-Smith at the end of the show, this production is dedicated to the memory of Stephen Sondheim who died recently at the age of 91.

He was one of theatre’s most revered and influential composer- lyricists of the last half of the 20th century and the driving force behind some of Broadway’s most beloved and celebrated shows.

Pictures from Richard Smith Photography.


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