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
Nadia Fall has misunderstood the play and, by seeking to make her mark on it, has come dangerously close to obliterating its impact. Bad casting and bad direction, however, is not enough to completely scupper Wertenbaker’s great play. In the end, the magical words she wrote come through – overcoming lightweight performances, an indulgent set, too grand a space and some interesting, but tiresomely intrusive, music.