Why Are “Company”‘s Balloons Hideous?

Why are the balloons in the new London production of Sondheim’s musical hideous? David Jays has a theory: “Because hideous they are, however classily their silver foil sheen works with Bunny Christie’s design palette of clean white and ice-blue neon, of red-haired, crimson-frocked Bobbie lost in a swirl of indigo smoke. As Sondheim’s score insistently tick-tocks, as the wheels of Bobbie’s social life spin on the spot, the balloons are an inflated mockery. 35: such an adult age. So why doesn’t Bobbie (a male character in the 1970 original; making her female in this production brings everything into focus) feel like a grown-up? Is this the life she wants to lead? If not – what is that life?’

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