SOMEWHERE among the gleaming skyscrapers of Manhattan, a bachelor called Bobby is contemplating his present and future life as he celebrates his birthday.

Over a series of dinners, drinks and a wedding, his friends point out the pros and cons of taking a spouse. The habitually single Bobby is forced to question his insistence on bachelorhood - and as he blows out the birthday cake candles, his friends make a wish for him to be happily married, just like them.

But in the incessant buzz of his New York lifestyle, Bobby has found his own happiness: good times with friends. No strings, just ‘Company’.

Bingley Little Theatre presents Company, Stephen Sondheim’s 1970s musical comedy, described as a “mature, intelligent, deliberately ambiguous look at relationships, identity and vulnerability”. The rarely performed musical comes to the Bingley stage by arrangement with Music Theatre International.

Says director Rachel Conyers: “When it was first performed, its unprecedented plot-less structure was hailed as groundbreaking. Sondheim described the musical as ‘the story of what happens inside Robert’. The idea of recreating a story told by one person’s memories, imagination and fantasies was appealing to me and I’ve tried to work that into a series of insightful scenes between Bobby and his friends. Each scene between them has been like directing a series of mini plays.”

Rachel is a regular at Bingley Little Theatre and Ilkley Playhouse. Her most recent appearance on stage with BLT was in The Welkin. Her directing credentials include The Crucible and History of Falling Things, but this is the first time she has directed a musical. “When Company came up, I didn’t know of it but I knew Sondheim was a giant in the genre,” she says. “I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with Ian Sapiro as musical director and Julie Boldy as choreographer and movement director. Both have a wealth of experience and shared that generously with me. I’ve really enjoyed being part of a creative team, the cast is exceptionally talented.”

Rob Edwards who plays Bobby, has performed with many amateur societies, including Ilkley Playhouse, Bradford Catholic Players and Bingley Amateurs. Says Rob: “Whilst enjoying the freedom of bachelorhood, Bobby is forced to confront his fear of emotional intimacy and reluctance to give up personal identity in a relationship. Although many societal assumptions of the 1970s would now be challenged, the script is ambiguous and thought provoking. The show features some of Sondheim’s best-known songs, including Another Hundred People and Being Alive. More than 50 years on from its groundbreaking debut, this production keeps it fresh, acerbic and original.”

* Company runs at Bingley Arts Centre from July 1-6. Visit or call (01274) 567983.