The National Theatre brings Stephen Sondheim’s musical to its stage for the first time directed by Dominic Cooke. Here’s Love London Love Culture’s round up of the reviews so far… 

FOLLIES
(C) Johan Persson

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.”

WhatsonStage: **** “The value of Dominic Cooke’s perceptive production for the National Theatre, which returns to the original book, is that it establishes the greatness of Follies once and for all thanks to four illuminating and dazzling central performances and a thoughtful approach which strips back familiar songs to reveal them in different lights.”

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.”

The 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.”

British Theatre.com: **** ” It’s a smart affair, and a deftly executed one.”

Jonathan Baz Reviews: ***** “Follies is as beautiful as it is eviscerating – a masterclass in musical theatre.”

Theatre Cat: ” So a grand entertaining evening, and some of the showiest showbiz in town. But the eyes stay dry.”

The FT: ***** “an outstanding revival — spectacular, sassy, sorrowful and ultimately deeply sad.”

West End Wilma: ***** “While Follies itself has always been an imperfect show, The National Theatre’s production can only be described as “masterful”. Score, book, design, performances and direction accumulate to a masterful production that is required viewing by anyone who has ever loved theatre.”

Follies continues to play at the National Theatre until the 3rd January 2018. For more information visit: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/follies

 

 

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