'Company' is wry look at marriage

Equinox does nice job of staging musical

Courtesy photo
“Here’s to the Ladies Who Lunch.” Shahara Ray as Joanne, Joel Silverman as Larry and Adam Shelton as Robert in Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” at the Bug Theatre.
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Multi-faceted director Colin Roybal designed the set and lighting at Denver's Bug Theater for Equinox Theatre Company's nicely staged production of “Company,” Stephen Sondheim's wry musical look at marriage.

Seven doors in assorted soft colors are arranged between the front stage area and the back two-thirds, which also houses a 13-piece band. The doors symbolize various couples and households effectively.

We meet Robert (Bobby) as his friends surprise him with a party, presents and cake on his 35 — and lots of suggestions that he settle down with the right woman soon. (He's juggling three girlfriends happily.)

Adam Shelton brings stage experience and a nice voice to the Robert role. He will probably drop a bit of opening-night rigidity with a few more performances under his belt.

His group of couples/friends offers a fair spectrum of types in the 35-50 age range — and a fair spectrum of advice:

Shahara Ray as the cynical older Joanne has been married several times and is not intent on her current spouse, Larry (Joel Silverman). She gives a strong performance throughout and delivers her “Ladies Who Lunch” number especially well.

“Sorry — Grateful” in Act I comes when Robert asks Harry, David and Larry, individually, if they're glad to be married. It expresses the mixed feelings many people must experience — Sondheim really understands human nature in this show, with varied focus.

Bobby's girlfriend Marta sings the lonely “Another 100 People Get Off of the Train …” while carefree stewardess April is off to “Barcelona.” The men friends all sing about “Have I got a Girl for You” and the three girlfriends accost Bobby with “You Could Drive a Person Crazy.” Margaret Ozaki, as Jenny, does an especially funny rendition of “(I'm Not) Getting Married Today.”

This production offers a well-chosen blend of characters and voices. We had occasional difficulties hearing the women speak — perhaps the fault of the sound system. The blend of musicians with the voices is especially well-managed and never drowns out the singers.

On the whole, Roybal has pulled together a large cast on a small stage and made this enjoyable, though difficult to sing, show into a pleasing evening of entertainment.

If you go:

“Company” plays through July 19 at the Bug Theater, 3654 Navajo St., in Denver's Highland neighborhood. Performances: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday. Tickets cost $25 at the door, $20 in advance, EquinoxTheatreDenver.com.