Music / “Salon at The Street”. Jane Rutter, The Street Theatre, September 21. Reviewed by LEN POWER
JORDAN Best is one of Canberra’s busiest directors, but she’s never staged a musical before – in fact she’s never even been in one.
It’s a wonder. The on-the-go Best told “CityNews” at a media call for Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” that she’d studied at the ANU School of Music and we already knew that she could both sing and play the cello and that her father, Peter Best, is Australia’s most famous film composer, so how come?
It seems she’s just been too busy as the director for Centrepiece Theatre, Canberra Repertory and Queanbeyan City Council to have had more musical fish to fry. We note that she is taking on two productions for Rep in their 2016-2017 season, so it won’t get any better.
“Company” is one of Sondheim’s most admired works, a sophisticated ensemble piece built around the birthday party of 35-year-old bachelor Bobby (played by Jarrad West) who is enjoying the high life in his New York City apartment surrounded by his friend talking about themselves, their marriages, their ups and downs, all the while hinting that happiness is elusive.
The production is a collaboration between Queanbeyan City Council and Everyman Theatre and was initially to have seen Duncan Ley directing, but now he’s relocated to England to be with his family, so Best stepped in – that’s showbiz.
Not to worry. She’s flanked by musical director Tim Hansen, who recently studied for a master’s degree in Manhattan so has first-hand experience of ‘the scene’, and edgy choreographer James Batchelor.
As well, “Company” features an all-star cast headed up by West and also featuring an all-star local cast comprising Best herself, Laura Dawson, Vanessa De Jager, Riley Bell, Amy Dunham, Will Huang, Helen McFarlane, Max Gambale, Michelle Norris and Karen Vickery.
They’ve got plenty to work on, with no fewer than 16 hits, including “Marry Me a Little”, “Getting Married Today” and “Being Alive”.
Last week in the Kingston Foreshore home of local arts patrons Heather and Jim Leedman overlooking “the Hudson River”, De Jager sang “Another hundred people (just got off of the train)”, then whole company treated us to a round of the title song—”Company.” It was just like the real thing.
“Company,” at The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, October 16 – 24, bookings to theqnet.au or 6285 6290.