In great 'Company' at the Pollard
“Company,” a Stephen Sondheim award-winning musical comedy, is being presented at the Pollard Theatre through July 11, 2015, under the expert direction of Timothy Stewart. The story is about men, women, and marriage. While communication is usually an essential aspect of marital discussion, this story from the book by George Furth is not about communication primarily; it is about all those other aspects of marriage that are inflicted on legal lovers whether they are happy or heading for divorce. The main character, a single man-about-town, Robert, is celebrating his 35th birthday at a party thrown by all his married friends. These friends come in all ages and experience, including some with a history of multiple attempts. All the men are jealous of Robert’s freedom and all the women are concerned about his loneliness, as if solitude was a fate worse than death. Robert sails through life with no stability or comforting arms but armed with illusory freedom and his own laundry.
Timothy Stewart has put together an excellent cast of ensemble players with great talent. Leading the cast is Matthew Alvin Brown; he plays Robert with a suave demeanor, yet the vulnerable child lurks around the corner. There are 5 sets of married couples who delight in their friendship with Robert, who also has companionship personified in three girlfriends, bringing the ensemble cast to 14.
Cory King and Matthew Morales are delightful as the couple Sarah and Harry. Their individualism highlights their marital solidarity, which takes definite theatrical ability. Susan Riley and Charlie Monnot are excellent as Susan and Peter. They are the slightly wacky friends who are always amusing to others and have not yet started to bore each other to tears. Nakeisha McGee and W. Jerome Stevenson are very well matched as the cute couple Jenny and David. These two upright citizens are ready to loosen up, although she can’t quite let go; he shows the flexibility that makes this marriage work. The result is a smooth performance from both. Gwendolyn Evans and Scott Hynes are very interesting as the poorly matched Amy and Paul. Her freneticism coupled with his serenity blend significantly and simply into an amusing example of fascinating marital bliss. Elin Bhaird and Harold Mortimer as Joanne and Larry are wonderful as the more experienced couple. They prove that age and experience mean nothing in a good marriage. Love must prevail.
Robert has three beautiful girlfriends, completely different in temperament and style, reflecting Robert’s interest in variety. Lexi Windsor plays April, Renee Anderson is Marta, and Jennifer Teel plays Kathy. Windsor’s April uses her ‘dumb blonde’ persona, providing a stereotypical perspective, yet surprising all with her unexpected wisdom. Marta is cool, modern, and slick; Anderson highlights sexuality with sensitivity and surprise. Kathy is the feminine ideal of grace and warmth; Teel reveals gorgeous femininity based on talent and strength. All three actresses know how to use their eyelashes.
Not only did Stewart perfectly cast this show with talented actors, he benefits from excellence in scenic design from James A. Hughes, lighting design from W. Jerome Stevenson, sound design from Jared Blount and costume coordination from Jennifer Teel. Teel’s excellent costume for herself highlights her beautiful balance in her lovely dance number, a result of the dedicated efforts of choreographer Jennifer Rosson. The combination of Rosson’s work with Stewart’s direction and Todd S. Malicoate’s musical direction allows this great cast the joy of a show without single a flaw.
This flawless event, “Company,” runs through July 11 and ends the 28th season at the Pollard Theatre 120 W. Harrison Avenue in Guthrie, Oklahoma. For further information on “Company” or the next season beginning in August with “Always Patsy Cline,” visit www.thepollard.org or call 405-282-2800. Curtain is at 8:00 and you’ll be glad to silence the cell and immerse the self.