Follies National Theatre, 8th September 2017 5 Stars Book Follies Tickets Folly is an interesting concept: it has fascinated the western mind all the way from Erasmus of Rotterdam’s philosphical contemplation, through the artificial landscaping constructions that adorn the estates of Stowe and Stourhead, Ermenonville and Versailles, to the variety entertainments of late 19th century Paris, and into the area which principally concerns this epic musical divertissement based upon the idea: the expensive and spectacular early 20th century Broadway revues of Florenz Ziegfeld. Oddly, a lot of time seems to have been spent worrying about whether this show, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book – or at least ‘scenes’ – by James Goldman, is ‘really’ a musical or just some kind of astonishing hybrid failure: its original producer Harold Prince dubbed it a ‘long-running flop’. While these practical questions have merit, they detract from the actual … Read more
Apparently The Go-Between started life as a play, and for once the book here, written by David Wood, is not the problem here. The Go Between fails because of its score, which fails at every hurdle. If you are going to The Go-Between to hear Michael Crawford perform Phantom(ish) songs you will be sorely disappointed.
Sam Mendes’ production of the musical adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is in excellent shape. Nothing indicates that more clearly than the show not missing a beat despite the fact that three understudies were called upon to perform. The company didn’t hiccup. Routines are polished and well-drilled; Mark Thompson’s wonderfully colourful, and sometimes colourless, costumes and sets are in pristine shape and conjure up the requisite sense of magic effortlessly. The tunefulness and sprightly fun of Marc Shaiman’s music remains infectious and sweet.
Where there should be style, there is smut; where there should be grace, there is gurning; where there should be passion there is pointlessness. Anything Goes is not a pantomime; nor is it a Carry On Gang film. It is certainly chock-full of silliness and slightly dirty fun, but it only works with an excess of energy focussed on style, believable characters, romance and the unlikeliest of plots.