This performance, like so that of so many by student bodies, is full of verve, gusto and raw excitement.
Sondheim’s story revolves around Robert or Bobby, as he is affectionately known, played convincingly by Nic Savage. Bobby is in his thirties, successful yet bored, a focus in the lives of many of his friends, but ultimately alone. Good looking and charismatic, he is strangely detached and isolated. He has it all…or perhaps he has nothing.
Bobby knows that he does not know much, but it does not occur to him that out there is someone one who just might know what he does not know. As the play progresses we see that behind an assured worldly exterior lies a dark, hopelessly gloomy interior.
Bobby’s friends too echo his conundrum. Behind their facade of apparently happy partnerships and lives, they too lead fragile, fragmented existences. With Peter (Tavis Cunningham) and Jenny (Tash Atkins) we have the ultimate dichotomy. Once married, they are now divorced and have never been happier in each other’s company.
All of Bobby’s friends want to see him married, but their own relationships are often empty and desperate. This Sondheim musical asks the question, do people really want marriage or are they just longing for good company?
Ryan Fogwell’s production features a strong supporting cast that includes Hamish Stening showcasing a strong baritone voice as tall, blond and handsome Harry, one of Bobby’s married friends and Ondine Manfrin as his partner Sarah, pretty and delicate on the outside but who is actually a very effective judo and karate exponent.
Many of the numbers are beautifully sung and choreographed. Bobby and Side by Side come to mind.
This is a sharp, sophisticated play that confronts its audience with what for many must be a version of their own difficult reality.
A UNSW Musical Theatre Society production, Stephen Sondheim’s COMPANY, directed by Ryan Fogwell with musical direction by Harry Collins, is playing at UNSW Studio One, Gate 2, High Street, Kensington.
Final performances are tonight at 7.30 pm and Saturday at 2 pm.
Tickets can be booked at http://bit.ly/MTSCompany