The musical comedy Company follows a thirty-five year old bachelor, Robert, as he ponders upon unmarried life. Through a series of interactions with his friends, who all happen to be married or in a serious relationship, he is able to evaluate the pros and cons of single life. He soon realises that despite many flaws, a life shared with someone is far superior to one on your own. The cast and production team of Van Mildert definitely did the show justice and it was most certainly generally a success.
I was impressed by the production and technical side of the show. The purpose-built stage combined with effective lighting ensured that a sense of professionalism was portrayed; a striking depiction of the New York City skyline and hints of colour aided the mood and tones of each scene. Also, the costumes were bright and colourful and allowed distinctive characters to be enhanced and understood by the audience.
Despite this competence, the scene changes were a little bit too long and there were a few issues with regards to microphones and cues. However, it is probable that these problems will be ironed out by tomorrow’s performance and can only be accounted as first night blunders.
The cast worked brilliantly both as a unit and individuals and there were a number of stand out performances. Matt Green (Robert) had every quality asked for from a leading man. His characterisation was well established from depicting a guy who has everything: charm, charisma, and humour to someone who is incredibly lonely and misunderstood.
Green’s voice was fantastic and Being Alive, his solo close to the end of the story, was an absolute highlight. This number, combined with great movement at the start of Act Two, proves that he is a considerable triple threat performer. He was convincing in a number of challenging scenes and interacted incredibly well with the various crazy people Robert encounters throughout the show.
Lucy Weaver de Araujo who played April, a dumb and naïve flight attendant, was also very good. She had strong stage presence and natural comedic value. She worked well alongside scenes with Green that could have been potentially awkward.
Further brilliant performances were from Emma Rhind-Tutt as the sweet but square Jenny, Elly George as the erratic and stressed Amy, and Clare Fenech as the cynical Joanne. All three actresses were thoroughly committed to their characters and were most enjoyable and pleasing to watch in their challenging and unique roles.
The cast as a whole were very good but there were a few minor issues. I would have liked to have the five relationships represented throughout the plot to have been more convincing. The pairs were a little static when stood together and their characterisation could have been more original at points.
Some of the chorus numbers in act one were also monotonous and the cast seemed unsure of lines and cues in some scenes. However, this didn’t last long and the pace soon picked up as the show continued.
The vocals were mostly brilliant and the choreography was well suited to the ability of the performers and aided the upbeat numbers. On the whole, every member of the cast performed at a high standard and they worked well together well.
Filled with wit and comedic value, Van Mildert’s cast and production team have produced a brilliant show, setting the standard high for collegiate performances throughout Durham. They most certainly deserve a larger audience today. The story really allows you to evaluate life and how enjoyable it can be if you have fun, lots of laughter and share it with good company.
Photograph: Ben Hodgkiss