S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Company's Guide to the Galaxy

One of pittenweem's choir friends gave her two comp tickets, so we journeyed up the northern regions of Toronto for an evening of Sondheim entertainment. Neither of was previously familiar with Company, although pittenweem is a big Sondheim fan in general. I've seen Into the Woods and A Little Night Music, but that's all, as far as I can remember.

I don't generally listen to Sondheim musical soundtracks for the fun of it, for all I have the albums for both Into the Woods and A Little Night Music. It's not that the music isn't good, but it works far better integrated into the performance than it does as a standalone. (With the odd rare exception, such as "Send in the Clowns".) A full-fledged stage production is ideal, and thus Company provided an engrossing and enjoyable evening, with mostly competent singing, a genial cast, minimal set, and plenty of props.

The musical is designed as a series of vignettes, flashbacks in the life of Robert, a man on his thirty-fifth birthday who realizes - thanks to botched phone messages - that his friends are all waiting for him for a surprise party. The plot chews over relationship issues, love, marriage, weddings, commitment, and human nature in a fairly satisfying way. Highlights included the song the three girlfriends sing together, and the song "I'm not getting married today".

On my second attempt, tonight, I finally saw The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I haven't reread the books since I was in my mid-teens, and it's probably just as well that what plot they have wasn't fresh in my mind. It was pleasant entertainment - I'm glad I saw it, but it wasn't generally riveting cinema; then again, neither was I ever bored. The movie was trying too hard to do some justice to all of the books at once while aiming for a vaguely coherent plot which I'm not sure it really needed. My absolute favorite bits were the results of the Improbability Drive (sofas! knitting!). Of the characters, I enjoyed Slartibartfast the most. I quite like Zooey Deschanel in general, but was less sure about her character came together in particular. Also, whatever happened to the villain of the piece? If he was going to be in the plot at all, why not give us the satisfaction of returning to him?

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