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'Company' asks: why get married?

By Maggie Doherty, Staff Writer

This past week, Masquerade Musical Theater Co. put on Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's "Company" in Monroe Theater, directed by senior Alexandra Laks. The clever musical comedy explored the ambiguity of middle-aged relationships, the idea of love in marriage and the classic question, "what's the point of getting married?"

To the cast and crew's credit, there are few things more entertaining than college students satirizing the idea that adults have it all figured out when it comes to marriage.
The musical centers around bachelor Bobby, played by junior Ryan Smith, as he approaches his 35th birthday. His group of friends, all coupled off in their own quirky way, attempt to throw him a surprise party that quickly turns sour. The plot jumps around through a series of vignettes, some giving way to laughs and some that showed the emotional depth of the actors.

Bobby's friends try to give him advice, set him up with women and constantly assure him that he has it great single while ushering in sympathy for being on his own at the same time.

What I couldn't figure out was why no one wanted to marry the guy with one of the best tenor voices I've heard in a while. Smith's solo "Being Alive" was both passionately acted and vocally pleasing, and it summed up the play quite well.

The small ensemble cast of 14 clearly had chemistry, each one complementing the next. Sinead Conlon and Colgan McNeil were hysterical as the overly-competitive bickering couple constantly trying to one-up each other. Kira Christoforidis perfectly satirized the wannabe New York City sophisticate, reminding us of a current trend that can sometimes get a bit over the top.

Kate Rose had a fantastic scene as a paranoid Bridezilla and her betrothed Ryan Zatcoff played her foil "nice guy" with charm and class. Even the cynical, miserable broad Joanne, played by Alexandra Rose, was enjoyable with monotone zingers, and her husband Larry, played by Ben Pike, was ironically the most happily married man of the group.

At points, the vignettes became a bit too obscure. For instance, a scene involving the passing of a joint had the potential to be funny but fell flat when things got awkward. Thankfully, the scene was juxtaposed with a cutesy bugle boy-esque trio featuring Christoforidis, Laura Duell and Diana Cucuruto to pick things back up. Bobby's doomed escapades with his various girlfriends entertained but left us feeling empty and wishing he would just find a companion.

The musical numbers in between were mostly high energy and vocally complex, showing that the cast put in hard work during rehearsals. Their maniacal satire made the dance numbers all the more entertaining. The choreography by student Samantha Jannotte did a great job making use of the stage, especially with such a small ensemble.

The overall message of the production was loud and clear from the beginning, that even though Bobby was a bachelor, he was no better off than any of his coupled off friends. He asks his friends if he should even get married at all, and James McGowan's Peter answers, "Don't be afraid it won't be perfect, Bobby, be afraid it won't be." Tapping into everyone's insecurities, "Company" provides a hysterically funny yet emotionally complex journey through a middle-aged single man's love life and Masquerade provided the variety of personalities that make that journey realistic to a theater-going audience.

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