What Did Critics Have to Say About London Follies Revival With Imelda Staunton?

The Verdict   What Did Critics Have to Say About London Follies Revival With Imelda Staunton?
Janie Dee, Peter Forbes, and Philip Quast co-star in the lavish staging of the Stephen Sondheim–James Goldman musical that opened September 6 at the National Theatre.
Imelda Staunton Johan Persson

The anticipated London revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s 1971 Broadway musical Follies, co-starring Imelda Staunton, Janie Dee, Peter Forbes, and Philip Quast, officially opened September 6 at the National Theatre.

Directed by Dominic Cooke, Follies features a cast of 37 and an orchestra of 21. Previews began August 22 in the National’s Olivier Theatre, which has been transformed into the crumbling remains of the Weissman Theatre.

Read what critics had to say about the production below.

The Arts Desk (David Nice)

Exeunt Magazine (Alice Saville)

The Guardian (Michael Billington)

Zizi Strallen, Alex Young, Fred Haig, and Adam Rhys-Charles Johan Persson

The Independent (Paul Taylor)

The New York Times (Matt Wolf)

The Stage (Tim Bano)

The Standard (Henry Hitchings)

The Telegraph (Dominic Cavendish)

The Times of London (Ann Treneman)

Time Out London (Andrzej Lukowski)

Variety (Matt Trueman)

Follies will be broadcast live in cinemas across the globe November 16.

Take a look at production shots from Follies below:

Similar to the original 1971 Broadway production, the National Theatre revival of Follies is presented without an intermission. The production boasts a cast including Staunton as Sally Durant Plummer, Dee as Phyllis Rogers Stone, Forbes as Buddy Plummer, and Quast as Ben Stone.

The cast also features Tracie Bennett as Carlotta Campion, Di Botcher as Hattie Walker, Dawn Hope as Stella Deems, Geraldine Fitzgerald as Solange Lafitte, Josephine Barstow as Heidi Schiller, Norma Attallah as Emily Whitman, Billy Boyle as Theodore Whitman, Gary Raymond as Dimitri Weismann, Bruce Graham as Roscoe, Alex Young as Young Sally, Zizi Strallen as Young Phyllis, Adam Rhys-Charles as Young Ben, and Fred Haig as Young Buddy.

Set within a decaying theatre, Follies centers on a reunion of former follies girls who reunite to relive their past, and rehash old wounds and regrets. Harold Prince co-directed the original Broadway production of Follies with the late Michael Bennett, who also choreographed. Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning score, a mix of pastiche and complex, character-driven material features “I'm Still Here,” “Broadway Baby,” “Losing My Mind,” “The Right Girl,” and “Too Many Mornings.”

Completing the company of Follies are Julie Armstrong (Sandra Crane), Jeremy Batt (Chorus Boy), Anouska Eaton (Young Emily), Liz Ewing (Company), Emily Goodenough (Showgirl), Adrian Grove (Sam Deems), Aimee Hodnett (Young Hattie), Liz Izen (Deedee West), Alison Langer (Young Heidi), Emily Langham (Young Carlotta), Sarah-Marie Maxwell (Young Solange), Ian McLarnon (Company), Leisha Mollyneux (Young Stella), Gemma Page (Christine Donovan), Kate Parr (Young Sandra), Edwin Ray (Chorus Boy), Jordan Shaw (Chorus Boy), Barnaby Thompson (Chorus Boy), Christine Tucker (Young Deedee), and Michael Vinsen (Chorus Boy).

The National production of Follies has production designs by Vicki Mortimer, choreography by Bill Deamer, musical supervision by Nicholas Skilbeck, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, musical direction by Nigel Lilley, lighting design by Paule Constable, and sound design by Paul Groothuis.

Visit nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/follies.


(Updated September 6, 2017)

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