Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Written and set in 1970s New York Company is often viewed as one of Sondheim’s lesser musicals though it gained 14 Tony award nominations for its original US production. A look at the life of Robert a single 35 year old New Yorker and his relationships with his friends and lovers told through a series of unrelated vignettes
As you would expect with a production from the students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and directed by Citizens Theatre Artistic Director, Dominic Hill this is a satisfying enjoyable production of Company with some stand-out performances.
Company is however a product of its time depicting relationships in 1970s New York and though it has a number of recognisable tunes which in themselves stand the test of time it is an old-fashioned beast. It inhabits a strange place in the pantheon of modern musicals: too soon to be re-discovered and re-booted – too of its time to be relevant today.
Told through a series of unrelated vignettes the show depicts the various relationships in the life of Robert as he celebrates his 35th birthday. And it is in the general depiction of these relationships that Company shows its age: the couple trying a joint for the first time, the 1970s stereotypical girlfriends (hippie, trolley-dolly and small town good girl who heads back to the small town from the big smoke to marry). It’s also slightly jarring to see obviously young people in their 20s playing jaded mid-30 year olds.
The actual production is good – strong direction of the large cast who are on the relatively small cluttered stage for the entire show. A live band inhabiting the far corners and wings of the small stage make a strong stab at the complicated score though they were slightly off on occasion on the day I attended.
Top marks to the accent coach as every performers US accent was flawless. The vocal work was strong, especially when singing as a group
Individually there are stand- out performances in terms of both acting and singing which was a real pleasure to see in Musical Theatre students and nothing less than you would expect from the standard of training given at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Keisha T Fraser ( Sarah) has some particularly great comic timing. Charlie Olivia, Rikki Browne and Fiona Carty (Kathy, Marta and April) should also deserve a mention for their great performance of ‘You Could Drive a Person Crazy’
I am a fan of the work that the Conservatoire of Scotland brings annually to the Fringe and its overall high standard but though this is an enjoyable production it is a long way short of other work they have presented in recent years.