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Thursday, April 11, 2024


(All pics by Val Adamson)

If you want to enjoy a show that is highly enjoyable but leaves you thinking as well, don’t miss “Company”. (Review by Caroline Smart) 

When the show opens, the audience is presented with the most intriguing set design I think I have ever seen. The set consists of hundreds of picture frames (no images) which cover the sides of the theatre and eventually morph into images of the New York skyline which represents the location of the performers.

I was eventually sufficiently intrigued to ask KickstArt’s highly inventive designer Greg King to give me some clarity. He said he had looked at the idea of how people react when they get in (or out) of a relationship – they invariably get photographs taken and frame them all over their living places.

Company deals with relationships and how people deal with them today – engagements, break-ups, marriages, divorces, etc. Add emotional cross-fires and differences, and the idea of linking your life to someone else for the rest of time is enough to find people staying firmly single.

One of these people is the star of the show – Robert (Bobby) – on the verge of a surprise birthday party. I have seen Bryan Hiles in many productions and know he has huge acting and directing (as well as technical theatre) talent. But this is the first time his singing talents have been pushed to the extreme and he handled them with ease, surprising even me with his capacity for the complexities of the musical score. His powerful rendition of the final number blew me away, totally!

His friends all arrive, plus birthday cake, to offer their good wishes and thereafter we get to individually meet the talented couples of this storyline.

The large cast is directed skillfully by Steven Stead, who manages to extract noteworthy performances from each of the talented performers. Not a poignant moment or comedic beat is missed.

There are some highly amusing scenes as we meet the various couples and their individual situations. The cast includes top talents such as Lyle Buxton, Lisa Bobbert, Anne-Marie Clulow, Liesl Coppin, Jessica Sole, Anthony Downing, Peter Court, Keryn Lynne Scott, Roshanda Lewis and Leah Mari. Fairly new to Durban theatre is Johannesburg-based Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri. 

A special addition to the cast is the welcome temporary return of the highly-popular Charon Williams-Ross, currently based in the UK.

(Above: Bryan Hiles, Peter Court & Charon Williams-Ross)

Roland Perold is not only in charge of Musical Direction, which he handles with his acknowledged strength, but he’s also in the show. Not only in the show but forms one of the cast’s most powerful members. He’s the perfect kind of actor you need in these productions which deal a lot with sensitivity and companionship. I truly was delighted and impressed by his performance. Real not dramatized!

Other top talents for me included Leah Mari who I have watched grow in this industry for a number of years. Now moving around the country and appearing in a number of top productions, she has matured as a major professional. Also showing major developed talent is Jessica Sole (who also visits us from the UK for this production) with a performance at blistering tempi in Getting Married Today, which was incredible.

(Above: Anthony Downing & Jessica Sole)

Well done to choreographer Simone Mann and lighting designer Tina le Roux as well as Stephanie Pais on sound design. Blending the voices while maintaining that Sondheim bite is no easy task.

While the name of the show – Company - might be unfamiliar to many potential theatre-goers, don’t worry – you’ll know the show when you see it. If not, you’ll certainly know the music. Songs such as The Little Things You Do Together; Another Hundred People; Getting Married Today; Side by Side and The Ladies who Lunch and the show stopper, Being Alive are handled with extreme polish!

If you want to enjoy a show that is highly enjoyable but leaves you thinking as well, don’t miss the SA premier season of Stephen Sondheim's Company.

It runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre for a short run (April 9 to 21). Performances are scheduled Tuesday to Saturday at 19h00, Saturday at 14h30, and Sunday at 16h00. Book for all KickstArt’s 2024 shows at WEBTICKETS.

Visit for more details and to make bookings. - Caroline Smart