Director: Joe McNulty Musical Director: Jonathan Watts
Nick Lawrence reports:-
This group has a well founded reputation for staging high quality productions and has subsequently won numerous awards. Over recent years it has added to its list of achievements matchless performances of some of Stephen Sondheim’s complicated musicals. So to be invited to review this show, considered by some to be the professor’s most difficult score, was an exciting prospect. Despite fighting off dullness brought on by a stubborn cold, I arrived at the theatre in keen anticipation of an excellent afternoon. It turned out to be NODA festival, as Immediate Past President Mary, Councillor Gerry, Treasurer Ray and other NODA friends were all in attendance.
The Director is known for molding a cast into a fluid presentation which tells a story with clarity and brings out every spark of humour, and the Musical Director has that magical ability to give everyone unshakable confidence even in the most polyphonic arrangements. Consequently portrayals by the excellent cast were secure and grounded in reality. The multi-levelled ‘meccano’ set was fully utilised, to give the audience varied and imaginative visual effects, while uniting the separate pairings in the overall picture. As each couple revealed the truth behind their everyday masks, it quickly became evident that Bobby (the pivotal character) was better off than his friends thought.
I should like to eulogize for much longer about this production and its cast, but other reps would resent the editor giving himself more space. Suffice to say that anyone who didn’t note that it was on from the advert in the last Area Magazine and take the trouble to make the trip to see it should feel ashamed. Even if you don’t care for Sondheim’s work, you couldn’t fail to be impressed by this version of “Company”.
When a Society has a reputation such as this group enjoys it would be easy to trip up, but this was live theatre at its most enjoyable and thought provoking best.