In good 'Company' as Suffolk theatre group finally gets back on stage

Jess Hughes (as April) and Jonathan Lodge (as Robert) are performing in Company at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds 

Jess Hughes (as April) and Jonathan Lodge (as Robert) are performing in Company at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: ANDY ABBOT

On Tuesday evening a talented cast from the Irving Stage Company brought a splash of positivity to the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds.

Boris Johnson's Freedom Day announcement on Monday was undeniably another set back for the arts industry in Suffolk - however staff and volunteers at the beautiful theatre in Westgate Street didn't let it show. 

And as you might expect after such a long break, the cast of  Company seemed delighted to be back on stage at the Theatre Royal. 

This year's lockdown has meant the Irving Stage Company has had limited time to rehearse together and due to coronavirus restrictions only six non-professional performers are allowed to sing on stage at one time. 

However, you wouldn't have noticed, the cast gave a note perfect performance - complete with American accents. 

I struggled to believe it was opening night, especially after a 15-month enforced break - their performances were that impressive!


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Company is based on the book written by George Furth, with the music and lyrics created by Stephen Sondheim. 

Without giving too much away it tells the story of charming bachelor Robert (Bobby) who was played by the impressive Irving Stage Company stalwart Jonathan Lodge. 

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It is set in 1970s New York and Bobby is pondering the pros and cons of marriage by taking a look at some his friends slightly quirky relationships. 

As an engaged slightly neurotic women myself, I was particularly impressed with the performance of Anna Damigella as Amy.

She owned the stage with a brilliant comedic performance as a unhinged bride-to-be and just like her castmates her voice was spot-on! 

What is it like going to the theatre with coronavirus restrictions in place? 

Undoubtedly it did feel different - but not in a bad way. 

Staff and volunteers were very efficient at giving to everyone to their seats in a friendly manner and we were able to order drinks direct to our box - which all worked well. 

Inevitably there was a smaller audience however it was touching to see people chatting to their theatre friends in the interval - from their seats. 

Rightly there was enthusiastic and lengthy applause at the end of the show - I might be wrong but it felt like it really meant something to the cast.

The good news is, if you ready to get back to the theatre the Theatre Royal has now announced its autumn line-up - which you can see here on their website. 

Company's run at the theatre finishes on Saturday, June 19. 









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