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Company: Stirling's answer to The Bachelor

Theatre

Company is a musical that explores the advantages – and disadvantages – of having a life partner.

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Central character Robert is turning 35 and his married friends are concerned that he is still single.

Presented by Stirling-based Hills Musical Company under the direction of Fiona DeLaine, each scene in this production is a vignette of time Robert spends spent in the company of different married friends, allowing him to absorb both the benefits and regrets of long-term relationships.

On the face of it, it would appear that the couples are giving Robert advice, but deep down they appear to secretly envy his freedom.

Company - Hills Musical 2Josh Barkley performs admirably as the lead character – which is an achievement because he’s on stage for most of the show.

Moving quickly between scenes, Company is punctuated with the unmistakable music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim, which at times provide the actors with some challenging melodies and wordy lyrics, particularly “Another Hundred People”, which Marta (Stefanie Rossi) delivered to perfection on opening night.

The technology of discreet head microphones enables the audience to enjoy clarity and balance of the voices, most notably during the rousing ensemble performances between cast and orchestra for the title song “Company” and “Side By Side”.

The standout character is Amy, played by Jess Rossiter, whose acting and singing are worthy of any major stage production.

At times, more could be done with the lighting to create a mood-focused atmosphere, especially in the scene between Robert and April (Kerry Staight), but small companies have limited resources and this quibble certainly didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the show.

Special mentions must go to the 12-piece orchestra led by musical director Mark DeLaine and to Tim Freedman (Allpro) for sound production.

If you enjoy musical theatre, I recommend booking tickets now, as there are only six more performances left.

Hill Musical Company is presenting Company at the Stirling Community Theatre again on November 12-14 and 19-21.

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