Review – Company by Stephen Sondheim

Sunday 4 March 2007

Company Manoel Theatre Valletta MaltaThe West End Whingers would go a very long way indeed to see a decent musical so this weekend Andrew (who takes things very literally) went to Malta.

For it was there, in the capital city of Valletta, that the Malta Amateur Dramatic Club was staging Stephen Sondheim’s Company at the historic Manoel Theatre.

The Manoel is a charming theatre. It dates back to 1732, making it probably one of Europe’s oldest. Around the orchestra stalls are arranged four tiers of boxes, each with four free-standing wooden chairs.

A perfect setting, but wouldn’t you be surprised to hear that this should provide the opportunity to see the definitive production of Stephen Sondheim’s award winning musical?

Well, it would have been a nice touch, but it wasn’t to be. The singing was patchy although the set was very good indeed.

It was unfortunate that the sound balance seemed to be weighted in favour of the orchestra. This made it difficult to make out the words and – while this is one of Sondheim’s more tuneful efforts – it’s the lyrics that would keep one captivated.

Andrew had forgotten how wordy the Company book is – there are very long periods with no music at all and you begin to forget that it’s a musical at all. Then along comes a tune such as little Things You Do Together, You Could Drive A Person Crazy, Another Hundred People or Ladies Who Lunch to breathe life into it.

According to the Malta Times and Sunday Times, the cast features “a veritable Who’s Who of local musical theatre” and who are we to argue but it’s a shame they couldn’t find a Bobby whose build that didn’t produce titters when another character comments on his lean stomach.

Anyway, the trip was worth it if only for the magnificence of the theatre, which Andrew has captured for you here:

Manoel Theatre, Valletta, Malta

For an authentic local review, check out this Maltese blogger’s account (friend of one of the cast) or check out the production’s ad on YouTube.

Better still, take a virtual tour around the theatre.

2 Responses to “Review – Company by Stephen Sondheim”

  1. Anders Says:

    Appreciation depends on your frame of reference, I’m sure. Apparently “Company” was the Manoel’s first musical production for over two years.

  2. DeeDee Says:

    The Manoel is really lovely — kind of one of two high points of Valletta, actually.

    If you’re not lucky enough (???) to catch this production of “Company”, do take a daytime tour of the theatre. Well worth it.

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