Review: Company

[by David Wallace]

Company is a play of vignettes loosely constructed around Bobby’s (Robert, as played by Mike Fryman) 35th birthday. Bobby is single, moving beyond “marriageable” age and his friends are all happily married. Or are they?

Bobby sees them all at their married worst at various times during the course of the play. They all want Bobby to be married. Or do they? Bobby wants to get married. Or does he?

Nothing is as it seems in this play. Or maybe it is. At one level, it’s a story about Bobby and his search for the perfect woman. (Most of them seem to be married to his friends.)

At another, it’s a story about Bobby’s friends and their efforts to help him find that perfect woman. Bobby yearns for something that he doesn’t have but doesn’t really know what that something is. He is, at times, conflicted and immature, low-key and wise, calm and frenetic. He is a “good guy” and everybody’s nightmare. He’s the one person that keeps his “company” together and the one who is breaking it up. In essence, he’s human, just another guy trying to “make it through the night.”

Two of the best vignettes are Lauren McCombs’ turn as Amy, who falls apart on her wedding day. She doesn’t want to marry Paul, played by Patrick Vaughn, but loves him so much that, in the end, she just has to marry him. This happens near the end of Act I.

In the second act, Jill Higginbotham steals the show as the cynical Joanna when she sings “The Ladies Who Lunch.” She manages to be fierce but vulnerable at the same time, a counterpoint to the charismatic yet conflicted Bobby.

In the end, Bobby reminds me of Elvis, standing on stage singing “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” telling his audience that they “can bring the curtain down,” and that’s finally what happens with Company. Nothing is resolved but everything is explored. If there’s a Company II, then bring it on!

CenterStage’s next production is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which runs from February 21-March 3. Get your tickets early because this show is sure to sell out. 459-0660.

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