I saw Sandi Toksvig! And also a play.

A year ago a new production of Sondheim’s musical Company was announced, with Patti LuPone as one of the stars.  I bought a ticket.  Fortunately I also wrote it in my calendar because otherwise I would have completely forgotten that it was tonight.

The production was very good, and I liked it much more than when I saw it in New York during the 2006-07 season with Raul Esparza in the lead role of Bobby.  Some of that has to do with how I’ve changed since then.  A play about a 35-year-old (apparently straight) man in New York wondering why he isn’t married will naturally resonate differently to a 27-year-old closeted gay man living in New York than it will to a 38-year-old gay man living in London whose boyfriend of nearly four years lives in Seattle.  I mean, the perspective’s a bit different.

But beyond perspective, the story itself had shifted:  Bobby is now Bobbie, played by a woman (Rosalie Craig), and for me that made a world of difference.  That and the decision to change the character Amy to Jamie, a gay man who knocked “I’m Not Getting Married Today” out of the park.  With these changes the show suddenly felt more relevant, interesting.  I cared about and related to Bobbie a lot more than I ever did to Bobby.  I liked seeing a gay male character who was neither the star nor a one-dimensional token character.  And the other characters?  By leaving them basically unchanged, their juxtaposition allowed other subtle things to emerge:  The beautiful, ditzy blond flight attendant that Bobbie dates was funny but a bit cliched as a woman in the original, while as a man the character is still funny but also pleasantly jarring because isn’t a handsome man in a uniform supposed to be the image of manly competence?  And Joanne (played by Patti LuPone) shifts from being a sort of creepy old seductress to a sort of mentor to the younger woman.

Anyway, all that to say I really enjoyed it.

And also SANDI TOKSVIG WAS SITTING TWO ROWS IN FRONT OF ME THE ENTIRE TIME!!! She’s a bit of a celebrity here, hosting QI and this season of The Great British Baking Show, and I completely adore her.

I snapped a quick photo and then managed to fall in line behind her in the great press to exit the theatre but didn’t quite get my pluck up to speak to her.  I did, however, overhear her saying that she thought the play “was one of the most perfect things [she’d] ever seen.”

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