The songs of the Stephen Sondheim’s Follies are familiar to anyone who has a heart in musical theatre. The setting is also sadly familiar concerning as it does the bulldozing of a theatre in order to provide Broadway with another car park facility.
This is the closing night and old and new members of the company are joining up to celebrate its demise. The beautiful girls of the current ensemble punctuate the story as two couples who are meeting after many years display their marital problems with occasional contributions from their younger selves
But the plot is immaterial and the production is really about Sondheim’s wonderful numbers – some of the wittiest he ever wrote, which deliver a musical treat for both the audience and for the actors who get to perform them.
With 26 in the cast and about the same number of songs, it is not possible to single out more than one or two. Perhaps the most famous is “I’m Still Here” in which April Nicholoson shows her unusually powerful vocal quality. Mark Hutchinson as Buddy has fun with “The Right girl” and “God, why don’t you love me Blues” and Maggie Robson sings the poignant “Losing My Mind”. The fourth member of the quartet is Julie Ross an actress who combines the comic timing of Joan Rivers with the looks of Bernadette Peters.
The ensemble is well trained and talented, and the entire production is staged and directed with imagination and flair by Tim McArthur.