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Stage Two Productions1
Average Rating Given : 4.50000
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REVIEWS

Company, by
Take a Bow, "Company"
Saturday, July 21, 2007
4.5
Okay, I admit it. I didn't want to go. My wife and I saw "Company" in New York in 1970, when we were college students. Saw it again in New York in 1996. Great show...in New York. But this was Dunwoody and a local church. But she insisted, so I went. And the joke was on me.

It started when we walked in the door. Several small touches to the lobby (Beethoven in a blue bonnet, Louis Armstrong singing "Hello, Dolly" and big jars of chocolate) which said "this is going to be fun." We walked into the performance hall and saw a simple, beautiful set...all black and blue, with the same interesting touches. Here comes the opening number: excellent, big voices. And we move into the first scene: "Harry and Sarah," the classic bickering couple. I find myself going into my program to see who these actors are. Lo, and behold, they're married in real life. What chemistry these two had, with "Bobby" as an excellent foil. The audience laughed heartily as Harry and Sarah tormented each other. But when "Bobby" asks "Harry" if he regrets getting married, "Harry" answers with a very beautiful, very tender ballad, so ably rendered by the actor that by the end of it my wife was holding my hand. Thanks, Harry!

The surprises continued: good acting, great singing, a knock-em-dead trio "Crazy" a la the Andrews Sisters, a reluctant bride singing at break-neck speed (and cute as a button), a couple of wonderful ballads sung by "Bobby" in a beautiful tenor voice.

Act Two begins with "Side By Side". Okay, they weren't great dancers, but they were having such fun, I wanted to get up and cut a rug with them. The second act was stolen, though, lock, stock and barrel by "April" the flight attendant. She was, in a word, adorable. The show ends with one of my favorite songs, "Being Alive", and it was delivered by "Bobby" in a style and voice worthy of any Broadway stage...and my wife holding my hand again.

The retired professor in me feels compelled to offer one well-intentioned comment: The actress portraying "Joanne" was too young and did not seem to understand her character...and it's all in the words, all in the dialogue. It's curious in a show that was staged with such imagination and marvelous small touches, that a greater effort was not made to present "Joanne," at least in physical appearance, as the mature, sophisticated, "va-va-va-voom" sexy woman she's intended to be. This young actress seemed too tired to be "va-va-va-voom." Of course, I saw Elaine Stritch play it in New York...a tough act to follow.

But all in all, a wonderful evening of theatre. Even the curtain call was fun: watching "Harry" slide in at the piano as the star and director gallantly leads the young woman who played the show superbly to center stage for her own well-deserved bow. Thanks, Stage Two! I'll be watching to see what you do next.

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