Company: A Musical Comedy, showcasing at La Boite theater by the Ignatians Musical Society
A review by Grace Anderson
Tonight imagine me gown and all, fetchingly draped against the wall.
I arrived at La Boite theater earlier this evening dressed up as I always am in a new dress with a lovely neckline and a cherry design ever so excited to finally see Company in person. Along with my collection of musicals that I have seen recorded live versions of on youtube, Company was among the greatest, followed closely by either A New Brain or We Will Rock You. Or Bare: A Pop Opera. Originally having seen the Neil Patrick Harris version with Steven Colbert (an idol of mine) and that lady who plays raising hopes mum, plus an arrayed cart of celebrities of whom I did not know at the time, 13 year old me was quite confused and conflicted at the end of this musical. I had only heard of it through Glee, which to a musical maniac is a truly ‘bad thing’. However, I knew two things of this show. a) I would never get the opening sequence out of my head (Bobby, Bobby baby, Bobby bubbi, Robby, Robert darling…) and b) my view on marriage had changed forever.
If this was the original intention of the show I do not know, but seeing it again tonight, and seeing a musical that holds such a place in my heart being done justice, brought back many fond memories so I have to applaud Ignatians Musical Society for their outstanding performance. By the end of the night I had felt as if I knew the characters, their faces were familiar to me by the end number and I knew their stories. You don’t often find that in a cast, though part of it may have been the fact that I have seen 3 or 4 of the characters in other plays that I have loves as well around the place (particularly the Brisbane Arts Theater – there were many cross-overs there). But that’s not to degrade the meaning of what I’m trying to say.
In particular, a strong mention to Bradley McCaw in this regard. After seeing Neil Patrick Harris play Robert I thought there was no way this man could do him justice. But with a gifted voice, an easy to loose yourself in character (there was not a seam you could see in his performance of Robert) and just his overall engagement with the audience, you couldn’t have asked for a better performer. The distance between the original views of him when I first saw that he was playing Robert in the program, and at the end when I looked at him and saw nothing but Robert, was spectacular.
Though he is not the only one I feel should be congratulated on their acting skills. The entire cast was really top notch, something you don’t often find in Brisbane. From not a single person dropping their character ever, even when they were sitting in the crowd literally next to us and watching the play, the actors reactions were perfect. And this made the performance that much easier just to slip into a trance and absorb.
Other mentions include the lighting guys. So so much lighting, yet consistent and created a recurring motif and worked beautifully. Everything was in time and precise and seamless. I have one memory of the only one second moment in the play when there was no colored lighting penetrating our view, just a glimpse that helped the audience realize how ‘coming to light’ Robbie was getting. It was a, what’s the word, foreshadow? So to the lighting guys, Bravo.
Finally, if there were one thing I were to criticize the Ignatians Musical Society on, it would be lack of advertising. I love when musicals come to town, but I almost missed this one. I did not see one poster, one tv ad, one radio mention. Even through my creative arts school, not a single person had heard of it and we usually hear everything thats going on at La Boite because its LITERALLY DOWN THE ROAD. But nothing. The only way I head of it was through a queer magazine that was talking about events coming up and it was in a list. To even find it on the internet I couldn’t get from just googling La Boite Company, I had to research into the group that was putting it on, then search that way. Ignatians needs a better marketing manager.
But overall, the night was a thrill. Amazing acting, amazing singing, amazing atmosphere. Professional, intriguing and seamless, I give this performance a 3 stars out of 5 and encourage all, if you can find the tickets, to go out and see it.