I have always felt that ‘Follies’,music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Goldman was an exceptional musical blending a hard hitting story that does not have an intentional happy ending and fantasy world where in this spectacular production at the National Theatre audiences witness a collaboration between musician and author that is without a doubt one of the most mesmerising shows I have seen in recent months. I have had a shows to see ‘wish list’ in my wallet for ages with Follies right up here and have yearned to see a full scale production as long as I can remember. I can now put a huge tick against the title of this show and will always relish the time I sat in G38 of the Olivier Theatre at the National Theatre and cheered and applauded as long as I could after seeing pure perfection.
The story of Follies is a simple one. A once proud theatre that used to stage the Wiseman Follies is in ruins. being pulled down to make way for another office block in Manhattan. An invited small selection Showgirls are invited to attend the theatre for one last time and this is their story, we reminisce.
Follies as a concept is staggering with two stories being played out at the time where the actors playing their roles overlap and as the finale approached finally blend as the four protagonists stories meshed together.
Imelda Stanton’s as Sally, Janie Dee as Phyllis are actresses that are in their respective roles are breathtaking but its Tracie Bennett’ s as Carlotta Campion rendition of one of the best songs in the show ‘I’m still here’ that had me almost busting into tears of immense joy and heart beating emotion as she tackled the song with a raw sincerity that deserved the raptious applause she immediately received as she hit that final note , a true show stopper of a number. To revive Sondheim’s masterpiece may of seemed daunting to some but director Dominic Cooke has taken this show and staged a jaw dropping 135mins of brilliance that surpasses your wildest dreams. I award this show a 1000 stars. If you can’t get an actual ticket to see this show then put a date in your diary as Follies will be broadcast by NT live into cinemas in the UK and internationally on Thursday 16th November
Now running at the Olivier , National Theatre, Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PX Box office 020 7452 3000 nationaltheatre.org.uk