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Royal Festival Hall: Previewed 3 August, Opened 6 August 2002, Closed 31 August 2002
Musical by Stephen Sondheim with book by James Goldman. Directed by Paul Kerryson with designs by Paul Farnsworth and musical direction by Julian Kelly.
Search Amazon.co.uk for Follies related items to buy.
Not seen in the West End for fifteen years, Follies comes to the London stage for a limited summer season at the Royal Festival Hall in a brand new production which features the original Broadway score.
Considered by many to be one of the greatest musicals of all time, Follies transports the audience to the once lavish, but now crumbling Weissman Theatre. Memories from its glorious past return and glamorous showgirls from decades ago reunite and remember, just one last time.
The haunting themes of time, age and memory; the whispers in the wings, the clicking of high heels, the giggling of the girls, are all brought vividly to life - deliciously clever Sondheim at his very best...
Filled with sensational songs, startling and wonderful rhythm, this unique and rarely performed musical featues classic showstoppers including 'Broadway Baby, 'I'm Still Here, and the world-wide hit 'Losing My Mind'.
Cast includes Henry Goodman as 'Buddy', Kathryn Evans as 'Sally', Louise Gold as 'Phyllis' and Diane Langton as 'Carlotta'.
(A revised version of Follies was staged at the Shaftesbury Theatre from July 1987 to February 1988)
Paul Kerryson's previous production's in London's West End include Rent at the Prince of Wales Theatre (Dec 2001 to Jan 2002). Kerryson has previous directed a major production of Follies at the Leicester Haymarket on October 1994.
Sondheim Sings, Vol. 1: 1962-72
CD, released 10 May 2005.
Stephen Sondheim turns 75 this year, and in celebration of his birthday, PS Classics Inc. will be unveiling the many demos held in his private collection, of him singing and playing songs he's written from 1946 to the present -- all digitally remastered. Some of these songs have never been heard, written for productions that never happened or cut from shows out of town; many others ended up on Broadway in versions substantially revised after the demos were recorded, giving us a rare chance to hear the artist actually creating his masterworks. Volume I of Sondheim Sings covers the years from 1962 to 1972 and is available to pre-order online now....
News about the show
On 12 March 2002: It was confirmed that Stephen Sondheim's musical Follies will be staged at the Royal Festival Hall opening on 6 August 2002, with previews from 3 August. Booking has now opened. The production will have a limited season up to 31 August 2002.
On 12 June 2002: Casting for the five main roles was officially announced: Henry Goodman will play 'Buddy', Kathryn Evans 'Sally', Louise Gold 'Phyllis' and Clarke Peters 'Ben' with Diane Langton as 'Carlotta'.
8 July 2002: More casting has been announced. Clarke Peters has evidently withdrawn from the production and the role of 'Ben' is now still to be announced. Henry Goodman will play 'Buddy', Kathryn Evans 'Sally', Louise Gold 'Phyllis' and Diane Langton as 'Carlotta' with Kerry Jay 'Young Phyllis', Hugh Maynard 'Young Ben', Emma Clifford 'Young Sally', Matthew Cammelle 'Young Buddy', Shezwae Powell 'Stella', Joan Savage 'Hattie', Anna Nicholas 'Solonge', Philippa Healey 'Young Heidi', Myra Sands 'Emily', Keisha Marina Atwell 'Young Stella', Tiffany Graves 'Margie', Paul Bentley 'Rosco', Tony Kemp 'Theodore', Nick Hamilton 'Max', Ensemble Girls: Pippa Raine, Juliet Gough, Alexis Owen Hobbs and Gabrielle Noble and Ensemble Boys: Simon Coulthard, Andrew Wright, Matthew Atwell and Craig Armstrong. The role of 'Ben', 'Heidi' and 'Weissman' are to be announced.
Extracts from the reviews:
"...Director Paul Kerryson seems daunted by the gaping space, filling it only intermittently. The party that reunites the chorus girls of the Weissman Follies is a static affair: individual women wander on to deliver a gag or complain of their lives since the Follies closed 30 years before, then shuffle away to make room for the next laugh or woeful reminiscence... Kerryson gives you a production that drags its heels. At least the grand ensemble numbers have a scintillating energy, and the evening improves greatly when Sondheim abandons plot and writer James Goldman altogether to deliver his own sardonic take on the Follies entertainments... But as the spectacle grows in extravagance, Kerryson's production seems all the more hollow at heart." The Guardian
"...What's strange is that, in a production that boasts that it is 'fully staged' (as indeed it is), Sondheim and his librettist, James Goldman, never bothered to stage it in the first place. The songs bang on regardless of storyline – all under the excuse that it's a semi-musical reunion of semi-musical performers – and the chunks of dialogue are patchy and sophomoric in their insights, not helped by the piano bar tinkling under most of them. But staged it is – Paul Farnsworth's phenomenal, shabby, once-grand theatre interior dominates the RFH stage and half the auditorium... The only disappointment of Paul Kerryson's production is the singing is often underpowered... Yet, in spite of all that and of some clunky lighting cues, when Sondheim hits the big torch numbers a thrill runs up the back of your neck and it all seems to make sense." The Independent
"...That indomitable impressario Raymond Gubbay has presented a production by Paul Kerryson that may not be definitive, but is full of a sense of sadness, improvisation and hanging on before the bulldozers move in. THe Festival Hall is not an ideal house. But the best is made of the facilities, and the sound levels and microphoning are fine... Joan Savage and Diane Langton give everything they've got and perform with consummate musicianship... But the show is properly stolen by Kathryn Evans as Sally, the showgirl who married Buddy but loved Ben more, and who raises the roof, halfway down a staircase, while losing her mind in a sustained cry of despair." The Daily Mail
"...The often lucklustre characterisation in Kerryson's production only serves to empasise how the banalities of Goldman's script outweigh the wisecracks, while the thin plot simply sets up yet more disillusion and regret. It's the way SOndheim expresses them in song that earns the show's now legendary reputation. Even though a fine band under Julian Kelly captures the splendours of Sondheim's unsettling cacophonies and feel-good melodies, not all the cast have the strengh to do the songs justice... Only Kathryn Evans as Sally fully embodies her role... Kerryson's production is a mixed bag of the poignant and the pallid which suggests that Follies may still be a work in progress." The Times