The modern revival of Stephen Sondheim's musical comedy Company hit Detroit's Fisher Theatre beginning October 17 until the 29. the musical is set in 20-
something New York City, following the life of Bobbi, a single woman who just turned 35. Bobbi's friends are all married or in long-term relationships and this leads Bobbi into a somewhat meltdown of sorts. The cast was phenomenal. The leading lady, Britney Coleman, did a spectacular job. The set design is unique and well put together.
The revival is a gender-flipped version of the original. Originally it followed a man, Robert (Bobby). What is curious about this concept is the fact that the writers chose to keep some of the roles the same while completely flipping others. For instance, the original infamous role of Amy, a nervous bride-to-be who sings ''Getting Married Today". She was a character many females could relate to and it was not a common character to be seen in theatre. Yet in the revival, Amy becomes a man named Jamie.
Jamie is a gay man, still marrying the same character of Paul. While queer representation is always wonderful and very important, I cannot help but read into the concept of making a woman-oriented role into one for a gay man. It seems like the writers are playing into an offensive stereotype. While these changes could have been completely random, it does not make sense to change some willy-nilly and keep others.
Some of the plot points from the original do not translate as well now that certain roles are gender-swapped. For instance, during the song ''You Could Drive a Person Crazy'', the whole concept of the number is to be an homage to the Andrew Sisters. This is very clear as the song is sung by three women, and the style is more apparent. Yet when the gender roles are flipped and it is three men singing, it just does not have that same comedic effect as the original.
When watching the show, it was unclear what the message was. The writing of the show kind of seems messy and not well put together. It leaves the audience very confused and not understanding what happens. Like for instance, there are three separate instances where Bobbi is blowing out her 35th birthday candles. The audience is unsure what actually happens, and it remains that way indefinitely. When watching a show, it has to be clear what the ending is and the concept of time has to make sense. The show kind of told us marriage was bad, then claimed it was good- which would allude to the concept of marriage to be complex. Yet, Bobbi decides something and we aren't sure what.
It just kind of seems like the writers were trying to be modern and it just was not very good. A lot of the plot points just kind of seemed to be ''drinking ha ha funny'' or ''I hate my wife haha funny''. The musical lacked tone and depth. When translating Bobby to Bobbi (man to woman), additional plot points should have been added because the female experience with the concept of loneliness is completely and vastly different than a man's.
Again, the company (har har) was fantastic, I just think that it was very poorly written and translated into modern times.
Photos (in order used)
Literally, no credits were given for the first- taken from website
Brinkhoff/Moegenburg, ''Five reasons you have to see ‘Company’ on the West End'' 29 January 2019 https://www.timeout.com/london/theatre/five-reasons-you-have-to-see-company-on-the-west-end
Murphy, Matthew, ''MurphyMade''https://www.murphymade.com/