First Lady of Broadway Patti LuPone returns to the West End after a 25 year absence to play Joanne opposite homegrown talent Rosalie Craig as a female Bobbi. Bake Off Presenter and TV comedian Mel Giedroyc adds yet more star power.
Rather than the linear narrative of many musicals, Company is a concept show. A series of vignettes revolving around single guy Bobby's 35th birthday party are stuffed with Sondheim's trademark blend of big musical numbers and probing, intelligent characterisation. As Bobby's friends share their concerns and theories over his single status, hit songs include The Ladies who Lunch, Being Alive, and Side by Side.
'I really want to make this production contemporary,' she says, 'to explore what it feels like to be a 35 year old sexually confident woman managing friendships and searching for love. Stephen Sondheim and I have talked a great deal about how this new interpretation might best be executed and I can’t wait to share it with audiences.'
By re-imagining Bobby as the female Bobbi, Elliott shifts the standard model of commitment-phobe bachelor to explore a more original and timely portrait of what it means to be a single thirty-something woman navigating the expectations of marriage, body clocks and settling down.
The production reunites Elliott with Rosalie Craig following the award-winning production of The Light Princess (National Theatre, 2013). And it proved tantalising enough to tempt Patti LuPone: 'I thought I'd sworn off musicals, but working with Marianne was an opportunity I couldn't resist,' LuPone said.
Having originated the role of Fantine in Les Mis, played the first Evita Peron, and created the part of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, her name is synonymous with musicals and her presence in this show will add yet more star-power.
Company will follow on from Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Complex (opening at Wyndham's Theatre this October) as the second show from the new West End production company led by Marianne Elliott and former National Theatre producer Chris Harper.
It may be early days, but if this new production of Company comes anywhere close to the sum of its very talented parts, it may just be the biggest show of 2018. Book pronto.
|What||Company, Gielgud Theatre|
|Where||Gielgud Theatre, 35 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6AR | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Piccadilly Circus (underground)|
26 Sep 18 – 30 Mar 19, Monday - Saturday 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday 2.30pm
|Price||£12.50 - £79.50|
|Website||Click here to book now|