There is a unique pleasure that comes from watching an ensemble click – a pleasure separate from the pleasure gained from the show itself.
And when it happens, what a treat! “Click” they do in O’Connell & Company’s closing show of the season, Stephen Sondheim’s landmark musical “Company.”
The singing is swell, the comedy is smart and broad, and the action is perfectly acted.
Audiences that have grown to love “Company” won’t be disappointed with this edition. If this is your first visit with “Company,” it is a fine place to start.
Steve Copps has the centerpiece role of Robert, better known as Bobby, who finds that his 35th birthday has become cause for all his “good and crazy” married friends to wonder and worry about his single status.
Socializing “Side by Side by Side” can be nice, but the marital chorus has come to see space at Bobby’s side as the vacuum that must be filled. The way to convince him seems to be to show off their own marriages, warts and bruises and nerves and all.
Mary Moebius and Guy Tomassi are Sarah and Harry, the self-correcting couple in deep denial: denial of sweets, denial of alcohol, denial of age. They play the show’s silly karate clash to the hilt.
Michelle Holden and Chris Teal are lovey dovey Susan and Peter, who have it all and have no clue what to do with it. So they decide to undo it.
Amy Teal and Tim Goehrig are Jennie and David, who take a go at getting high only to realize how comfortable they are in their square-sided rut. Loraine O’Donnell shakes the rigging with her rendition of “The Ladies Who Lunch,” while her “husband” Roger Van Dette as the rich and accepting Larry shakes everything else, to huge embarrassment, on the dance floor.
It is up to Chris Riso to play the puppyish Paul to Charmagne Chi’s Amy in the highlight song “(‘I’m Not’) Getting Married Today.”
Done poorly, the number can be a messy muddle. Chi plays it perfectly. Expressing her anxiety from her eyebrows to her toes, she rattles out Amy’s wedding day worries with the most panicked case of butterflies you ever saw.
Arin Dandes is similarly strong in her lament of “Another Hundred People” and Valerie Stevens is lovely as Kathy, the gal that gets away.
It is left to Jenny McCabe to make the clueless April the flight attendant so charming, and when she is leaving Bobby’s bed for “Barcelona,” unlike Bobby we genuinely hate to see her go.
Director Roger Paolini gets the most out of his performers. Musical director Ken Young strikes a fine balance in sound and song and Michael J. Walline does magic with the choreography on the compact stage.
We couldn’t see the musicians, but according to the program the live band is made up of Susan Shaw on keyboards, Melissa Bender on bass and Kris Banzhaf on percussion. A nice part of the show.