The acting was great. The directing was great. The dancing and singing were great. The premise that a bunch of married couples would, year after year, be intrinsically interested in their bachelor friend’s solo life was a little hard to swallow. Whatever endeared that womanizing guy to his friends is beyond me.
But the vignettes of married life in Renegade Theater Company’s production of “Company” are terrific. Andy Bennett and Katie Helbacka, married in real life, are just too funny. They invite bachelor Bob over for an evening. One teetotals liquor; the other has sworn off goodies. Watching them finesse their cheating is hilarious. As is their karate demonstration.
Carolyn LePine is arch, rich Joanne. She deliciously delivers Stephen Sondheim’s: “It’s the little things you do together that keep marriage intact.”
Sondheim has such a lyrical knack. Three husbands- Harry (Bennett), David (Bryan Burns), and Larry (Greg Anderson) answer the hard question, “Are you ever sorry you got married?” with “You’re always sorry, regretful, happy, sorry, grateful...”
The gimic to reveal each couple’s status quo is to have Bob (Adam Sippola) over for dessert or a drink. He’s the first to learn Susan and Peter (Kate Zehr and Bret Amundson) are divorcing. He’s there the night David gets Jenny (Jennifer Graupman) lit up, cussin’ and happy with a little reefer; the night Dave reveals he’s got everything but freedom, the night we learn Bobster is stringing along a trio of cuties: very young Marta (Abbey Hegerfeld), fly-girl April (Amber Burns) and the one that’s smart enough to get away, Kathy (Sarah Diener).
Jenna Kelly portrays Catholic Amy, dressed in a so-interesting, beautiful, long white wedding gown laced up the back with black laces, and about to marry “her very own Jew”, Paul (Mike Pederson), a touching scene of last minute jitters.
Sippola is one of a slew of great voices in the show. He eventually realizes he almost wants to get hitched: “Marry me a little. Make a few demands I’m able to fulfill. We’ll look not too deep. We won’t have to give up a thing. We’ll stay who we are. Love me just enough.”
Two drinks are mentioned during the show that Director Evan Kelly said would both be available at a reduced price at Zeitgeist Cafe’, one a sazerac. Unfortunately, when I ordered mine at intermission, the Cafe’ bartender had no idea what a sazerac was. I would think this glitch is cleared up by now, the last weekend of the show.
Evan Kelly doubles as choreographer, topping off the smart, salient dialogue and vocals with some great hoofing. The live band, always a plus, plays onstage behind a curtain. When my son and his partner come up for the Labor Day weekend, I’m hoping his entourage will stop for the show, packed with universal insights. “Company” runs through Saturday, September 1, 8pm, at Teatro Zuccone.