Sunday, March 01, 2009

Company

BrunDog Productions in assoc. with JANE a theater company
February 12 - March 1, 2009

Review by peanutduck (closing)

Absorb dark genius Sondheim performed by roster of vocal gymnasts; at minimum, aurally delightful. Notable: Hysteric Kelly Stewart’s “Getting Married Today,” Melanie Shaw’s “The Ladies Who Lunch,” among others. Admittedly, production’s nothing mind-blowing: Andrew Foster’s Bobby is superficial lounge singer with nonexistent transition to “Being Alive”; choreography adequate; lighting dreadful.

44 comments:

M. Hunter said...

WOW! Very funny, yet hits many angles of the single man and his relationships with his married friends. We all know someone like "Bobby". Andrew Foster gave an outstanding performance. The entire cast was strong -I want to get get high with that group in that scene (you know who you are) Orchestra sounded amazing. Some sound issues, but overall the show was strong and entertaining.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like they improved dramatically from the preview Thursday night, when I saw it. I love Sondheim music, but even that couldn't save this dreadful production. It lasted two and a half hours ! Some scenes really dragged with pregnant pauses that made me want to yell, "Pick up the pace !" The "Ladies Who Lunch" solo was uncomfortably long. Melanie Shaw has a fine voice, but "Joanne" came across too bitchy. What was with the set ? Not enough money to afford more than wooden boxes ?
On the positive side were the performance by Andrew Foster(Bobby), Kelly Stewart(Amy), and Stephanie Heuston(April). They all gave very believable, funny portrayals. I'll be interested in hearing what others have to say. Maybe it was just as the old saying goes, "bad dress, good show." That's what I hope, anyway.

Joe said...

Saw this production on Saturday evening and enjoyed every moment. I agree with anonymous with the wooden boxes and the long "Ladies Who Lunch" scene. Andrew Foster was outstanding as was Kelly Stewart. Sheila Bruhn was comical. Stephanie Heuston was very funny! Overall the cast was strong, orchestra was beautiful. Not a poor show as from what one would say about preview night.

Anonymous said...

Cast and Crew of Company, my husband and I saw your show on Sunday afternoon and enjoyed the production. Thank you for bringing energy to the stage for a matinee and what we are sure was the end of a long week for you all. An afternoon well spent for us.

Anonymous said...

The show is funny, poignant, profound and disturbing. What more can you ask?

Anonymous said...

From the reception at the door, to the program, to the music, to the concepts, to the
staging, everything - its phenominal.

Anonymous said...

Some very good moments but also some very slow moments. I agree with one of the comments. I felt like I was watching a staged reading.

Anonymous said...

Good COMPANY show - a little confused at the photo ads... is this about Bobby & Apirl? or Bobby & Company..... Of course after seeing the show it's about Bobby & Company - Enjoyed the show, strong performances given by all. Good to everyone involved.

Anonymous said...

Some real stand out performances.

The best work I've seen yet out of Kelly Stewart in a role she was born to play. The always quirky and infinitely watchable Stephanie Heuston also shines as does Melanie Shaw in the showstopper role of Joanne. (How could the previous poster comment that Joanne was "too bitchy". Can that role be too bitchy? It's one of bitchiest roles in American Theater. Right up there with Martha in Virgina Wolf!) Great showcase for the ladies all around.

Men give a nice showing too, especially golden-throated Andrew Foster in the lead.

The choreography was simple but clever and well executed in what is clearly not a dance show and the band.

Oh, that band! Just lovely. The sort of full rich sound you hardly ever hear outside of Broadway musicals anymore (and often not even there!) My only complaint is that we couldn't see them. When the orchestra is so clearly your star, it's almost criminal to hide them behind a backdrop.

Well done all! Highly recommended!

M/M Vinson said...

A great show, one we would see again if it wasn't for the fact that it was over two hours long. Andrew Foster gives an outstanding performance as Bobby, this is a role he was born to play. Melanie Shaw's did a fine job as Joanne, surprised me in this role. Sheila Bruhn was contagious with her laughter and her timing was dead on - no idea she could do comedy. Kelly Stewart played her part over the top and it was outstanding. The cast of COMPANY is a talented group and let's not forget the ORCHESTRA - OUTSTANDING!!!!! Overall, good direction, choeography, orchestration, performances. We'd recommend it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2/16 siad this was a dreadful production. Highly disagree. This was a wonderful production. Creativity in use of the boxes, the back drop, different having the orchestra behind the set but with this venue it seemed appropriate. The sound was amazing. Alina Ziak-Briones gave a fine performance at Marta. Especially enjoyed Stephanie Heuston as April and Sheila Bruhn as Jenny. Funny scenes - beautiful vocals. Most noteably was the work of Andrew Foster as Bobby. He gave an overall outstanding performance.

Anonymous said...

OMG I loved this show! Kudos to Director Brunish for assembling the cast, musicians and tech crews that all gave a first-rate performance. Special thanks to Andrew Foster for a charming Bobby and to Melanie Shaw for a stunning performance as Joanne. She is at once humorous and poignant and her Ladies that Lunch is a showstopper.
Go see this show !!!!

Megan said...

Wonderful show. Alan Lytle has done a fine job with the Orchestra and Vocalist. Andrew Foster is outstanding!!! A fine job done by Melanie Shaw but I disagree with her number being a show stopper. The so called show stopper is a "sleeper".

Anonymous said...

Worth seeing if just for Andrew Foster's performance. I disagree about the woman who played Joanne. Thought she was miscast and too slapstick-y. Most of the cast was good, the comedy worked. The pacing, as other people said, was too slow. A good show, but don't run out to see it unless you want to see a great "Bobby."

Anonymous said...

great show! great cast! Fantastic vocals by all involved! some slow pacing not sure if it is the script or the direction. but well worth seeing. I agree with M. Hunter I wanna get high with them too. Kudos to Alan Lytle! the Orchestra was fantastic.

Anonymous said...

A truly beautiful show, and do let's give proper credit to sound designer Greg Paul for his work in keeping the orchestra and cast so wonderfully balanced.

K Campbell said...

I saw COMPANY 17 times in New York in the 70's with the original "company." The production I saw last Sunday here in Portland was certainly equal to the original in talent, if not in financial resources. The cast, with one exception, was perfect. The success of the show hinges on the character of "Bobby" and Andrew W. Foster was handsome and sexy and funny and simply nailed his signature number in the show, "Being Alive." Do yourself a big favor and get tickets for this show!

M. Riley said...

A show full of uncertainty when it comes to Bobby's (Andrew Foster)uncertainties. Everyone did a wonderful job! Nothing made me laugh more however then scene with Bobby, David (Ryan Duncan) and Jenny (Sheila Bruhn). That was the most fun and most sincere scene in the show. Kelly Stewart was well cast in her role as April. So much fun to watch her panic over getting married. And who doesn't know a person like Marta (Alina Ziak)? Alina was strong in her portrayal/voice. Alan Lytle and his Orchestra are to be highly applauded for their outstanding work as well as the work of the performers on stage and their vocals. Some sound issues, but not enough to take away from what was going on on the stage. This was a wonderful evening out. Go see.

Anonymous said...

So many good things about last nights show. Didn't want to not post something on this site. This cast really pulled it together. Some stronger than others but it balanced itself. As nice as the space was, feel it's the wrong space for this particular show. Anonymous 2/16 9:10AM wrote "dreadful production" - Do not agree. The show is long, but the show I saw moved along very well. And I believe the wooden boxes was creative for this space.
Job well done everyone involved.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed this production very much. Only complaint is the last scene with Joanne. Too long!!! Dragged the high energy of the rest of the show down. At that moment you lost me.
"Some" very talented vocalists in this production. "Some" actors made it look so real and in the moment.

Josh said...

Wonderful evening. Andrew Foster's Bobby was brilliant. I am Bobby! Made me take a step back and think about my life. So many fun parts in this show. Everyone held their own in there scnes. Some definatley funnier than others. Particularly enjoyed the pot smoking scene with Sheila Bruhn, Andrew Foster and Ryan Duncan. Stephanie Heuston was hot and played the perfect ditz. And how Kelly Stewart was able to sing her song that fast and make it seem so easy left me in awe. Backdrop was amazing with the lighting. And agree with Anny. 2/28 regarding Joanne/Melanie Shaw.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful production. Most underrated performance from Andrew Bray, who brought humanity and honesty to Paul... he was truly shattered, and misted my eyes when Amy dumps him before the wedding. Kelly Stewart gave an awesome performance, once more exemplifying her ability for patter (as in Thoroughly Modern Millie). Great work from Peppers, Zimmerman, BALDINO!!!, and certainly Andrew Foster, who made a delightful Bobby. Great simplicity and effectiveness with the one drop and simple set. Sound balance was wonderful Thursday evening (2.26), and the orchestra was spot on. Kudos to Brunish!
-Addison DeWitt

Anonymous said...

I'm being biased here but I saw the revival in New York and this was just bad compared to it. If I hadn't seen the broadway show, I'm confident that I would have enjoyed this show much more.

Some actors were fantastic. Some just ticked me off because of their shallow interperations. Each one of those characters has the opportunity to influence Bobby, and that's what shapes his view of marriage and relationships, which shapes the lens of the show.

I also think they overplayed the humor...and unfortunately I didn't come away emotionally affected. This show is much deeper and more powerful than this performance showed.

But I could tell that the cast enjoyed themselves. The orchestra was also very strong, and it was an enjoyable evening.

I'm glad I saw it...it's worth seeing. But not if you saw it on Broadway.

Anonymous said...

OK, i just have to say, is 2 and half hours at the theatre long?
really? what kind of theatre do you go to?
two and a half hours is average for a musical.
that's a fact.
and made especially delightful by this particular production.

Anonymous said...

great music.
great scenes.
great visuals and movement.
great voices.
and great pacing.
i loved this show from the top to the end.
superb.
this show was a gift to portland.
i feel lucky to have seen it.

Anonymous said...

I laughed, I wept.
2 and 1/2 hours seemed like 90 mins.
Fantastic light design.
Perhaps the most profoundly lit show I've seen.
Amazing.
And hands down the best production of Company I've ever seen.
And when I saw it, you could hear a pin drop during the supposed "slow" scene towards the end.
Truly gripping and the key to the entire plot.
If you were bored, you were not paying attention.
The orchestra was, quite simply, superb, sublime, supercalifragilisticexpialidotious.

Anonymous said...

Where did all this talent come from? When a show is this well cast and mounted, it blows me away.
It is such a miracle, such a relief from the average production round town.
Please do more shows, whoever you are "Jane"
Please do more.
Please?

Anonymous said...

from the material to the production, quite simply the best evening's entertainment i have seen in portland in a long long long time.
a gem.

Anonymous said...

This show is in a league by itself -- and what a magnificent league it is.

J. M Hansen said...

This production was dead on. Don't agree with some of the negative postings. First off to compare this production of Company to any other production is just failure to go and see the show for entertainment value. This cast had many strong performers. Kelly Stewart, Andrew Foster, Sheila Bruhn, just to name a few. A nice size audience and all seemed to get the humor as well as the twisted side of relationships. Seems we all have been Bobby or one of those married couples. The scene with Melanie Shaw is long, but from what I know of the show, it's written that way. She did a wonderful job. And I don't recall the last time I have been to a prodction that had a outstanding full orchestra and to come out for bows was a treat. This show was well done and personally I liked seeing that there were no NY actors brought in on that stage. Portland has talent and nice to see the theatre companies in town are realizing this. I'm left in awe of this show. Was so much better than going to the movies yesterday.

Janice said...

Kelly Stewart was outstanding in her wacked out bride to be character. Andrew Foster has a vocal gift and I was moved by his characters struggle. Enjoyed the different scenes with the different couples and Bobby's relationship with each one. The scene with the pot smoking is still one that sticks out in my mind. It was just funny and so real. The laughter from all three performers made me laugh so hard my jaw hurt. Don't get me wrong, there were other stand out scnes. April was so dumb that she made blondes look good...if you get what I mean. And I have to say the orchestra really was as good as people say. If this show had one more weekend I would have highly suggested it to others to see. Can't wait to see what Jane Productions comes up with next.

Anonymous said...

sometimes i feel as tho people on this blog comment on things they do not understand.
i liked the wooden boxes. i wasn't sure why i liked them and then one
of the cast explained it to me.
the "cubes" are a metaphor --- along with the square windows in the backdrop they represent two things --- the isolation one can feel in a big city and the attempts by bobby's friends to "trap" him in the same
boxes they are living in -- convention -- tradition -- conformatism.
(i am not altogether certain conformatism is a word, but it works for me)
they all want bobby to conform.
so they try -- thru out the play -- to get him into these boxes.
(even the lights used sometimes reflect these box like shapes)
so the progression of sofas and benches and tables and counters and even bobby's own bed, formed by these boxes, represent the conventions of society gnawing at him.
in the last scene, his cake sits on one of these boxes, and he blows out his candles --- does it mean he has given in, or that he has closed the book on his friends' expectations?
it is left to us, i guess, and that made me appreciate the play and the production even more.
i didn't see the boxes as a budgetary limitation at all --- when you hire an orchestra that good and that large, clearly money is not the issue -- i saw the "cubes" as an artistic choice --- and a brilliant one.
i have disclosed that i know some of the cast, so call me biased, but this was a treat of a show and as far as this viewer is concerned, without flaw.
(at least flaws of any consequence)
everyone's opinion is valid -- it is their own --- but sometimes it
seems as tho folks comment rather aggressively from a place of
"non-comprehension" and intolerance for the more subtle aspects of well thot out artistic choices.
and i fear it will always be so.

Anonymous said...

oh, and i forgot to say that the writer who compared this show to a "staged reading" has clearly never seen a staged reading.
staged readings do not have full choreography, full orchestra, full lights and a sound system that nuanced.
i guess some folks just like to hear themselves talk. and since i don't want to be one of them, i'll be quiet now.

Anonymous said...

i'd like to add something to the box discussion.
i thought of them as building blocks -- and that allowed me to see clearly that every person builds their own life. they design it using the same basic raw materials as everyone else -- but they all come out unique.
i thought it was a stunning choice.

Anonymous said...

And although this show is over... let me just make a comment about the boxes before I move on.... The use of the boxes was CREATIVE. They were NOT a factor in the show being good or bad.

On that note..... I am a actor in town who has worked with many that were a part of Company,I just want you Cast,Orchestra etc... Job well done!

Anonymous said...

i agree with both -- they were "creative" in a "stunning" way, for anyone psaying attention.
there was plenty to look at.
and it was all good.

Anonymous said...

Haven't you folks become a little obsessed with your own show? I am sorry I missed it and I am sure it was as spectacular as y'all say, but c'mon, do you see any other group going on and on about their own show? He who protests too much, and all of that.

Anonymous said...

Delightful
Wondrous
Touching
Full



Crafted with timing, nuance, rhythm.
Add to that an effective, simple set. Anymore would have interrupted the flow
of the show.
Costume concept...loved it!!!
And then the music....OMG. Definitely the biggest star of the show. Wanted
to just keep listening to them play....the best I've heard...ever in Portland, that's
for sure. Makes you realize how important the "full" orchestra can be to the
artform. Brings an emotional fullness, completeness to the experience. That is
a musical!!! Not just the singing, acting, but the MUSIC. When we are forced
to cut back due to expense, talent, concept, venue, etc....the experience is
changed, and not usually for the best. Musicals are musicals for a reason. I loved how the music
and the voices transcended everything else and pulled me in.

Anonymous said...

hey, anon 1:47.
nice try, but i see no postings by anyone in the show.
i see anon and i see names and i see folks who admit they know someone in the show.
why so cocksure of yourself?
and why so envious?
nothing to do today?

Anonymous said...

To Peanutduck: Who are you? Why the negative review after all of the glorious raves? I could see if you had constructive feedback, but you don't. Perhaps you are there for a balance. Alas, I hope no pays attention to you. Here's hoping for your next role. =)

Anonymous said...

People,

Do not rag on Peanutduck for sharing an honest opinion. That's incredibly childish. Just because an opinion does not match with yours, or because it is less popular than the majority expressed on this site, does not make it any less valid.

Grow up, and learn to appreciate critique, good and bad. Art is subjective, which makes it exciting. How boring would it be if everybody going to see a show left with the exact same opinion?

And certainly, don't stoop to the assumption that peanutduck has to be some disgruntled actor. That's petty and naive.

Peace, love, and respect.

followspot said...

The peanutduck thread was getting a little weird so I did delete the last two... back to Company!

Anonymous said...

really, deleted?
hmmmmmm.
whatever happened to free speech?
personally i find the debates fascinating as long as they are sincere or clearly tongue in cheek or clever.
no cheap shots!!!
ever!
use your brain not your ego.zeri

Anthony said...

Congratulations to Andrew W Foster, Alan D Lytle, Michael Mazzola and the entire COMPANY Ensemble on your PAMTAs! Well deserved, well deserved!