REVIEW ROUND-UP: Follies at the National Theatre

In Features, London theatre, Musicals, Native, Opinion, Reviews, Sticky by Emma ClarendonLeave a Comment

The National Theatre brings Stephen Sondheim’s classic Broadway musical to its stage for the first time, directed by Dominic Cooke. It’s running in the NT’s Olivier Theatre until 3 January 2018. Here’s Love London Love Culture’s round up of the reviews so far… 

New York, 1971. There’s a party on the stage of the Weismann Theatre. Tomorrow the iconic building will be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves.

Including such classic songs as Broadway Baby, I’m Still Here and Losing My Mind, Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical is staged for the first time at the National Theatre.

The Guardian: ★★★★★ “Played without a trace of camp and no interval, this is a production that perfectly captures the sustained emotional arc of Sondheim and Goldman’s musical.”

The Independent: ★★★★★ “Cooke handles the complications of dismay and shame that are brought out by this interplay of innocence and experience with delicacy and restraint.”

Evening Standard: ★★★★ “it’s lucid, precisely choreographed by Bill Deamer, and above all gorgeously performed.”

The Stage: ★★★★★ “It’s taken 30 years, but it was worth the wait. This isn’t just triumphant, it’s transcendent.”

The Times: ★★★★ “This production is wildly traditional by the National Theatre’s standard and the costumes, especially, are a joy.”

Exeunt Magazine: “It’s become a commonplace to say that Follies is structurally flawed, and it is, and it doesn’t matter. The cracks are where its beauties lie.”

Broadway World: ★★★★★ “Sondheim super-fans will certainly consider it worth the wait, but for the dedicated and uninitiated alike, it’s simply spectacular theatre.”

Time Out: ★★★★★ “‘Follies’ is no folly but a perfect, devastating evocation of the pain of looking back. Plus: tap-dancing!”

The Telegraph: ”a superlative revival by Dominic Cooke”

London Theatre.co.uk: ★★★★★ “Director Dominic Cooke and choreographer Deamer happily make many good decisions on the roads they choose to play this journey on, bringing haunting echoes of the past into play along with the close-up emotions of the present.”

Daily Mail: ★★★★ “Regret, nostalgia, decay, failure: despite Dominic Cooke’s spirited production (well over two hours with no interval), the pessimism, particularly about love and marriage, never quite convinces. But there are enough vignettes, not least from the wonderful Dame Josephine, to make the evening linger in the memory.”

Musical Theatre Review: ★★★★★ “Gorgeous to look at, dazzlingly choreographed by Bill Deamer, on a superb Vicki Mortimer set dominated by a giant Follies sign already in the throes of being demolished, Dominic Cooke’s stunning production takes off from the moment the orchestra strikes up ‘Beautiful Girls’ and never lets up.”

The Reviews Hub: ★★★1/2 “The result is a play which never really feels as emotionally satisfying as intended, even though it excels visually from start to finish.”

The Upcoming: ★★★★★Follies will seduce even the perennially musical theatre-averse.”

City AM: ★★★★★ “It’s simply a musical masterclass and it’d be folly to miss it.”

British Theatre Guide: “In these more sophisticated times, despite the gigantic cast, a West End transfer must surely beckon for this glorious five-star show about show business.”

There Ought to be Clowns: “you can’t help but be carried along a gorgeous wave of marabou, melancholy and musical theatre at its best.”

 

Emma Clarendon on Twitter
Emma Clarendon
Emma Clarendon studied drama through A-Level before deciding she was much better suited to writing about theatre than appearing onstage. She’s written for a number of online publications ever since, including The News Hub and Art Info. Emma set up her own blog, Love London Love Culture, in April 2015 and tweets at theatre_emma.
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Emma Clarendon on Twitter
Emma Clarendon
Emma Clarendon studied drama through A-Level before deciding she was much better suited to writing about theatre than appearing onstage. She’s written for a number of online publications ever since, including The News Hub and Art Info. Emma set up her own blog, Love London Love Culture, in April 2015 and tweets at theatre_emma.