The Prickle (@ThePrickle) October 18, 2018
The newest revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Company opened at the Gielgud theatre last month and has been given the unenviable task of following its predecessors. Originally written in 1970, the libretto follows the life of Bobby, a 35-year-old bachelor navigating his way through life structured by his married friends and his own disinterest in settling down. Marianne Elliott’s new production resonates with a whole new generation and gender.
Gender-swapping Bobby into ‘Bobbie’, the character effortlessly translates from perpetual bachelor into 21st century single female challenging society’s traditional expectations. Rosalie Craig is an unstoppable force as Bobbie, tackling some huge numbers. Her Being Alive is raw and thought-provoking and ultimately filled with hope for Bobbie’s future.
Jonathan Bailey is a showstopper as Jamie (formerly Amy,) a homosexual utterly terrified of the heteronormative concept of marriage…on his own wedding day. The lead couples are also written with gender fluidity within their characters. The production challenges the preconceived, yet recognises that it is so rarely black and white when it comes to ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ roles within modern partnerships. Patti Lupone reprises her role of Joanne once again proving that every time she performs Ladies Who Lunch it becomes definitive.
The production is fast-paced, staging and choreography slick and not a moment wasted. It is thrilling to think of audiences seeing it for the first time who will now struggle to imagine it the original way. This is the brilliance of the production, rethinking its context and creating something new and relatable.